Inspirational author, Catherine West shares the inspiration for her latest release, Hidden in the Heart. Comment on this post to get your name in the drawing for a copy. Deadline: Nov 10th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Catherine:
I woke up one day and realized I didn’t know where I came from.
Being an adoptee, this shouldn’t have surprised me. I can’t remember not knowing that I was adopted. But, at thirty something years old, with two children who didn’t have access to their full medical histories, for the first time in my life, I really wanted to know.
With the blessing of my family, I began a search that would take me down unknown paths. Emotions crept out of hiding and settled in for the duration. I began to piece together parts of myself that suddenly made sense, and I acknowledged a deep desire to reconnect with the woman who had given me life. I had no idea what lay behind the doors I would knock on, who, if anyone, would answer, but I knew I had to try.
My journey was not an easy one, but I did find answers. I found peace and healing, and most of all I found a renewed belief that God works all things together for good. Even things we do not understand or want to accept.
A few years after my search, I began to put the pieces of my personal journey down on paper. Friends encouraged me to use my experiences to shed light on the adoption process, the vast gamut of emotions one goes through when searching, and perhaps shed a little light on the feelings of all parties involved. Because it’s not all about the adoptee. It’s about the birth mother too. And the adopted parents. The triad.
At first I was skeptical. It would be too hard. Too emotionally draining. I’d gone through enough. But as I began to write, I saw a story take shape that I couldn’t ignore. So I began to ask questions of my characters. I began to explore a fictional world where I could create a story not unlike my own, but at the same time, could take some liberties (artistic license) and put my characters in different situations where they would have no choice but to rely on the grace of God. I’ve been there.
Of course, being the romantic I am, I knew my book would have to have some thread of romance. While my own personal story did not involve my birth father, I wanted Claire’s to. And I thought, what if that man was still in love with the woman he abandoned twenty-seven years ago? What if she still held on to bitter memories and wanted nothing to do with him? How much fun would that be? So there is a great subplot there with these two wounded individuals, and I love how it turned out!
Once I finished this book, I knew I had something special. I knew even if it never left my computer, I had done what I needed to. To my surprise, my agent loved the story, and we began to pursue publication.
I suppose a story such as Hidden in the Heart may not appeal to all readers. While there is angst, there is also hope. Forgiveness. Redemption. I believe the struggles my characters endure could happen to anyone. We have all experienced pain and loss on some level. How we deal with those issues will shape the outcome. We can choose to place our problems at the foot of the cross or we can carry the burden alone. I can tell you from first hand experience, trying to go it alone doesn’t work. We need support. We need friends and family to rely on, and we need to learn how to let go. To forgive. And be forgiven.
As I said in the back of the book, embarking on a search for one’s birth family is not a decision that should be taken lightly. While Hidden in the Heart does have a happy ending (but that’s all I’m saying), not all search and reunion journeys do. Mine was happy, but there were also parts that remain unresolved. I’m able to handle that because I see God’s fingerprints all over every single detail of my life. I rejoice in the fact that he gave me the answers I needed, and rest in the knowledge that I have all I need in Him.
I love to talk about my story, but I know you don’t have all day. I’m always happy to chat with my readers about my books or anything else, so feel free to connect with me on Facebook or send me an email. I’d love to know when you’ve read Hidden in the Heart, and what you thought. If you have been touched by adoption, I think you will appreciate Claire’s story.
Thanks for reading today!
About Catherine: Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com. Learn more at http://www.catherinejwest.com, https://www.facebook.com/CatherineJWest, http://www.oaktara.com, and http://www.thisisablogaboutbooks.wordpress.com.
About the book - Hidden in the Heart: Everything Claire wants seems to be beyond her reach…
After losing her mother to cancer and suffering a miscarriage soon after, Claire Ferguson numbs the pain with alcohol and pills, and wonders if her own life is worth living.
Adopted at birth, Claire is convinced she has some unknown genetic flaw that may have been the cause of her miscarriage. She must find a way to deal with the guilt she harbors. But exoneration will come with a price.
With her marriage in trouble and her father refusing to answer any questions about her adoption, Claire begins the search for her birth mother.
For the first time in her life, she really wants to know where she came from.
But what if the woman who gave her life doesn’t want to be found?
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