This year, I had the pleasure of writing books nine and ten in the Rona Shively Stories series. I’ve been writing this series since 2006 and as I reflect on what this character has meant to me, I’m almost overwhelmed. When it all started, I was struggling with grief. My now ex-husband and I had gone through a rough time. I’d had one miscarriage and then I’d given birth to our daughter. From there, I’d been plagued by post partum depression and although I’d wanted more children, it soon became obvious that I would not be able to have more. I suffered another miscarriage and then another, and another. By the fifth loss, I decided that I couldn’t try anymore. Throughout all of this, I wrote Rona. The pain and suffering that I felt during those years was so intense that I channeled it into this character and through sarcasm and a jacked up sense of humor, I managed to cope with all the loss.
Ultimately, my husband and I divorced. Throughout the years that followed, I poured my grief over the loss of my marriage into the books. I threw in a few other losses as well as I watched several dear members of my family pass away. As I wrote, I also tried to show the struggle that I was having with my own relationship with God. The last ten years has been difficult, to say the least. But I’m thankful that God has allowed me to use my writing to process what were the hardest years of my life. I’m also thankful that this character has made a few people laugh or at least feel a little better about their own challenges. I hope that she illustrates what it’s like to live in this world and want to be so much better than we are capable of being at a given time in our lives. Sometimes, we just can’t. Sometimes, we have to go through the things that devastate us in order to learn what we need to learn to be better. And we always come out stronger on the other side.
The struggle is real and it is a necessary evil. No matter how hard things are, there is always meaning and there is always a way out that will not entail total self-destruction. Rona is a strong character, but she hurts like everyone else. She has felt pain and sorrow. She has been broken. But she has also allowed herself to be put back together. And she lives to fight another day. If you get nothing else out of these books, I hope you will see that even when life is at its dumbest, you can turn and head in a completely new direction. That’s what she’s done and who knows where it will take her. I’m positive that wherever that may be, she’ll be all the better for it.
Happiest of New Year’s to all of you! I pray that you’ll be everything you dreamed you could be and that you’ll let God give you beauty for your ashes this year. Many blessings!