Rebecca’s comments from book Launch April 28, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen, family and friends,
Thank you for coming and sharing with me in the launch of the Narrow Road Series. I’m very excited to share with you a little about the inspirations of these books. Just over seven years ago I published my first nonfiction book “When Time Stands Still under the pen name Rebecca Hickson. Although the book Roseway is fiction, I slipped it into the back of the book When Time Stands Still as a preview of a book to come. At that time all I had written for Roseway was a chapter. Here I am seven years later with three new fiction books in the series.
Like I said, the first book in the series – Roseway the Road that Never Ends began as a chapter. One day I just started writing about this young adult sitting in a meadow. The name Rose popped into my head, probably because I love roses. To me a rose represents something passionate, loving, beautiful, fragrant, and vibrant. If you ever pick up a rose stem you quickly learn that they can be very prickly even make you bleed.
There was something vulnerable and innocent about Rose. A naïve young adult who seemed so very lost, alone and desperate to find home, trying to fill this incredible void in her life. I remember feeling that way myself as a teenager. I’m sure that some of my own experiences and feelings of that age inspired this character Rose who desperately wanted to find her way home. Find her way. That was it. Rose “find her way” equals Roseway the title. Her name … the meaning of it… just fit. And I pictured her journey being like a road that never ends. She would experience many trials along the way.
I couldn’t leave her completely alone. So, I gave her a relationship with God. She needed something good in her life amongst all the bad; something to motivate her and direct her along that narrow road. Whether she would always accept what the father God instructed her while walking along that road – was up to her. Why was she in this desperate meadow praying? Who or what was making her life feel like a dry barren place?
To this young woman Roseway, it was her captor, a character who would be so overbearing, harsh, and abusive in some ways. I named him Big Joe. Her captor would be someone she feared, someone who made her feel hatred. He was a man she desperately wanted to escape. Big Joe a simple man, uneducated and whose character was moulded from his own horrible childhood. At the same time, I felt there needed to be balance. For example there would be two males in Roseway’s life. Big Joe who had a dependant love for her. He was obsessive, twisted, un-compassionate and harsh, while the other male would represent a compassionate, caring, nurturing, giving, loving man with Godly morals and yet with human limitations. (Not perfect) but like a prince charming in comparison to Big Joe.
I was inspired to show within the story of these books the dark side of people, sin within a wide spectrum. Big Joe moved from one sinful choice to another. I needed to bring the reader to hate this character as much as Roseway hated this man. There is a reason for this. Many of us have our own Big Joe’s in our lives. How would I ever bring the reader into that dark place and then show them the way out, to find that place of love and forgiveness, rather than hatred. So that was the challenge and basically that is what inspired the first book Roseway.
The second book in the series – Ripley the Road to Acceptance
I always liked this saying that I heard many years ago. I’m not even sure where I heard it. “Be like a pebble thrown into a pond that makes a ripple that goes on and on and on.” The thought of this ripple in a pond going on and on, made me think of a character like that ripple. That ripple inspired the name Ripley. She would be the one to make a difference. She would become like that pebble in Roseway’s life and eventually in the lives of her friends and the people God brought into her life.
A pebble is hard, it’s made of stone. Ripley would be strong in ways where Roseway was weak. Roseway would bring out the softness of Ripley’s tough exterior. At times, Ripley was like a pillar of strength for Roseway. I’ve always wanted a best friend and I’m sure these desires inspired the development of these two characters and the kindred friendship they would share; A friendship that would also be spiritually connected. It would become evident that God was the center of that friendship. At the same time I wanted my characters to be relatable. Definitely not perfect. They would both have their own set of issues to work through and relationships to reconcile. The characters just kept inventing themselves.
The storyline for Ripley starts out rather funny. I had no storyline written down. I just went from working fulltime to part-time with the aspirations of writing more books. It was my first day off work. I was sitting on my front deck and not knowing what to write or how to get started. Now, when I read the introduction to Ripley, I laugh thinking about how it began. I was just writing about my new home, the school of Zion. Sure I took a few tidbits from my own life and embellished them into some romantic setting. When I did this a new character developed named Camay. The character Camay is really named after a bar of soap. Do you remember those romantic Camay commercials in black and white? Don’t raise your hands. I didn’t know where else to go with Camay so in entered Roseway into her life. And the saga continued.
The book Ripley begins in a very romantic way. However, life is not always a nice romantic fairytale with happy endings. I wish life was. The book Ripley is jammed packed full of topics that will make many readers squirm. Some of the topics within this book makes me squirm and I wrote them. Many people suffer from the emotional experiences mentioned within this book. That is why I included them in the storyline as to really help people search for God’s love and freedom and no longer live under condemnation. These books have a mature content. Some of these topics would include rape, incest, infidelity, abortion, drug addictions, homosexuality, crime within the justice system and murder. I told you they are heavy topics. They are relevant topics headlining our news today.
Over the years I have met many women who have had abortions and they have spoken of their experience and the emotional trauma they went home to deal with. I volunteered at the Newmarket Crisis Pregnancy Center some years ago. Now called TLC. They have programs which can help women.
I know of a Free me to Live recovery bible study for women who need emotional healing or help with the effects of not only abortion but also incest, rape and other topics mentioned within these books. That is where I learned about the dumpster called denial which is mentioned in the first book Roseway. I used the dumpster of denial as a symbol.
The third book in the series Jenn the Road of Sacrifice.
Writing this book was the most challenging of the three. For the longest time I did not know what to write. I had a powerful first paragraph with a punch. I had to build a story around one character. In the process show the justice system to be corrupt.
This book is really about corruption in high and low places. The catalyst is drugs, money, power and greed. My book shows that it doesn’t matter what income bracket you live in, drugs and addiction do not care about your bank account. Often the higher your bank account the more expensive the drugs which can be purchased.
Jenn the Road of Sacrifice is about trying to find freedom from addiction, from crime, prostitution, corruption and finding justice. No one is really exempt from the temptation in the world. I wanted to show that a well-meaning Christian who walks that narrow road can also struggle. They may have to make some difficult choices. Many of these difficult choices involve our emotions – heart connectors.
God’s ways are not always our ways. Sometimes God does not answer our prayers according to the way would like them to be answered. Things are not always as they appear. Some of the characters face this dilemma, struggle with their faith and have many questions for God. Sometimes it is difficult to give answers to others when that prayer does not seem to be answered in the way we had hoped.
The most important message I want to give to the reader in this book is a sense of compassion toward others who are less fortunate, toward others who really struggle with addictions and people like the character Sarah who was at a dark place in her life, working in prostitution and addicted to drugs.
Like many youth today, at some point in her life Sarah was pulled off the narrow road and deceived by what may have looked enticing at the moment, but in reality it pulled her into a life she just lived from day-to-day, taking drugs to fill that void to mask the pain so that she could continue in that downward cycle where she felt she could do nothing else.
I wanted to show that we can all walk a road of sacrifice for people. Sometimes it just takes someone like Jenn or Jim or Ripley, one individual person to show people like Sarah that there is another road they can walk. Will it be an easy road? We don’t know. Eventually that road will lead to a better place, a healthier way of life. When we reach out in life and help others in the same way we ourselves have been helped along the road, it makes a difference. Pay it forward.
I took a First Nation’s young woman named Jenn and placed her on that Narrow Road. In the freedom she experienced she gained a desire to love and care enough to step out and make a choice to help Sarah find freedom. It is a parallel to what God the Father has done for each of us; in that He made atonement for all the things we do which keep us in bondage. In the bible it is called sin. God’s son Christ Jesus walked that road of sacrifice to give freedom to Sarah, Jenn, Ripley, and Joseph, Big Joe, me, you, the rapist, the drug user, and the liar. The cross upon which Jesus sacrificed His life for our lives is that bridge between you and a Heavenly Father. He is the bridge from where we are today to where we can be tomorrow – walking that Narrow Road in a relationship with God the Father through none other than His Son Christ Jesus.