I actually wrote a good portion of "By Love and Grace" before I wrote “Now and Forever,” then out of the blue (another term for inspiration) I came up with the idea of having Sean O’Hara live with Michael and Emily so their lives could be integrated, and one story would lead into another. It worked out well in the long run with the way Sean kept showing up in the Hamilton Family Saga.
When the storyline first came to me, it was evident that having a
heroine become the victim of a rape was a tumultuous and poignant conflict.
Having it occur soon after meeting the hero brought up all kinds of irony and
dilemma. With the story idea in place, I began researching this very sensitive
topic, and pondering my own feelings on the matter. Having the hero a
psychologist in training seemed another great irony, one that I can’t take
credit for. (Inspiration again.) It felt completely right and natural that Tara
would give this baby to someone else, which was a great opportunity to talk
about the beautiful principle of adoption. Over the years, this book has been
passed into many, many hands as they’ve dealt with rape, unwanted pregnancy,
and/or adoption. It’s gratifying for me to see that it’s helped many people deal
with real-life problems, even though for me it all stemmed from simply wanting
to write a great story.
A year or so after this book was published, I met
a man who became my own personal Sean O’Hara. He’s a remarkable psychologist who
rose above his own challenging upbringing. Since that time we’ve become good
friends and his insights have helped me a great deal in my own life as well as
in my work. I take pride in being one of the people in his life that finally
convinced him to write a book. (Because he’s so smart and has such great ideas.)
It’s called “Everyday Parents Raising Great Kids,” by James D. MacArthur.
Whether you’re raising kids or not, you should read this book!
barely finished this manuscript when I realized that I’d spoken to people who
had been on both sides of adoption, but I hadn’t actually talked to a rape
victim, and perhaps I should in order to be certain I’d gotten it right. I went
to a book signing (during a BYU game; not smart) and not one customer came in .
. . except for a young lady who had been raped and was pregnant, and working
toward adoption. We talked and bonded. She read the manuscript and assured me
that I had it right. (Must be inspiration.) This is one of many experiences that
has let me know I’m being guided and directed in my work, which makes me very
grateful, and humbled by the privilege.