How strong is the human will to survive? Can surrendering gracefully to an
inevitable end, be just as admirable as fighting valiantly to one’s dying
These are themes I explored in my next novel, Reluctant
Hope. In this story, I examined the very different ways that people deal
with cancer, either their own or that of a loved one. One of my protagonists,
Addison Hunt, has survived breast cancer and, though still touched by her past,
she has moved on to life after her illness. On the other hand, Brooke Donahue’s
pain is fresh, having just lost her best friend. She’s angry on many levels and
running from her overwhelming grief.
Writing this story was an emotional journey for me. At first, because I strove to put
myself close to these two women—to their moments of grief and pain, as well as
their moments of triumph and acceptance. I wanted to honor the strength and
bravery with which women like Addison and Brooke face their incredible
Two months ago, the themes of this book became even more personal for me as my
family struggled with many of the same questions. My aunt had been ill for some
time, but continued fighting to get better. But then, the doctors said they’d
done all they could, and hospice was brought in to help.
Her passing left a hole in our family where once was a strong, funny, compassionate woman. Watching my large family deal with the process of losing her, showed me the varied way that people deal with such difficult circumstances. It also raised a number of questions for me—about my own journey with my amazing partner and about how I want to prepare for the unexpected that may lie ahead.
On a larger scale, I was left examining my own views about the will to fight even
in the face of dire odds, and painful illness. What kind of reserve must
someone dig into to find that kind of strength? Can there be grace in letting
go? And will I have the courage to make that decision should I ever reach a
point in my life where it is necessary?
I did the final read-through of Reluctant Hope in the days following my aunt’s death. This time, Addison and Brooke’s story took on an even deeper, more profound meaning for me. I can’t wait to put this book into the hands of my readers. I hope that it can do as it has for me—provoke thought, heal wounds, and, at the very least, provide a heart-warming romance.