I’ve heard it said that the book an author writes is theirs, until it gets released. After that, it belongs to the reader. I think that sounds about right. So, today I sent my book, BRINGING DELANEY HOME, out into the world. It feels a lot like when we sent our children off to their first day of school. You’re proud, excited, and worried. You want other kids to like them and hope they make it though the day without peeing their pants. Oh, wait, no. Maybe not that last part.
I’ve written before about the inspiration for Delaney. I shared the details here. But I can actually pinpoint the exact moment I knew I had to write this story. I was volunteering at the Warrior and Family Support Center at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. One day I met Jake (not his real name), a young soldier who had lost both hands over in Iraq. He’d been through burn treatments and was working his way through therapy, prosthesis fittings and occupational therapy. He had a long recovery ahead of him. The day I met him, he talked about his future. Anyone would understand if he was frustrated, angry, scared, bitter or all of the above. He wasn’t. It was almost like he didn’t have the time or energy to waste on those. Nope, this young man already had plans for his future. Once he got his prosthetic hands he wanted to learn to fly helicopters. Even now, years later, I can still see the light in his eyes, the energy in his body as he laid out his goal. The way he rocked up on the balls of his feet as he talked– like he was ready to get going with the flying already. His ability to rebound from something so devastating, to be so ready to tackle the challenges facing him–well, it blew me away. And he was far from the only soldier with that resilient attitude.
I needed this book to represent Jake’s positive attitude and unbridled enthusiasm. So, even though Delaney begins this book in a dark place, I couldn’t let her stay there for too long. Anyway, I hope readers can find something to like, maybe even love, about BRINGING DELANEY HOME.