Gifted, book two of the Awakening Series is now available as an audiobook. Here’s the link for Audible. If you listen through other audiobook platforms, it will be to those soon or might already be there.
I’m asked often about the inspiration for Gifted and Awakening. I understand why people are curious! The idea entered my mind after my family and I traveled to Maine and stayed in a house that was once an inn, set on a quiet cove. There were wild strawberries growing in the yard, blueberries were everywhere, and the tide rose and fell by twelve feet– something that’s a tad mind-blowing to this Florida girl. There was a land bridge that led to an island where people routinely got stuck and cars often flooded—because they ignored the warnings. Lobster really was cheaper than chicken. The ocean was freezing even in summer. People (not us) swam in ponds (Luca and I share the same opinion about this) and we were warned to watch out for all the leaches. Ironically, we never saw a leach in Maine but when we came back to Florida, we rode scooters at the park after a rainstorm and came home with leaches on us (something that had never happened before or since).
Other inspiration comes from a winter trip to Park City, Utah. My husband and I went to dinner at a restaurant that was once a youth hostel, inn for miners, brothel (you get the picture) and when I went to the restroom it was as creepy as the one Siena experiences at the BayTree. Thankfully I do not have Siena’s gifts! Siena’s church looks in my mind a lot like a blending of the two churches we visited while in Park City. The snow print scene comes from my oldest son who did exactly as Siena did and made the perfect Samuel snow print which sent his brother into hysterics the same as Avi reacted. A lot of character inspiration comes from my kids — my older son is always reading and my younger one has some serious issues when he eats too much sugar and no protein, much like Lisieux and Avi, respectively.
Names are important both in real life and in fiction. I try to give my characters names that fit them and have meaning. Siena, Lisieux, and Avila are each named for the towns of great women saints. Gemma is the name of a saint and, of course, St. Paul is a big one with a checkered past. Jason and Sam are names that I like and really seemed to fit those characters. Luca, is similar to Lucifer in its meaning “bringer of light.” I wanted there to be some similarity there, some question, at least in the beginning, of his goodness. In the end I hope his goodness is clear. For Thomas the name seemed to fit, and in some ways I pulled from “Doubting Thomas,” though I think the apostle Thomas gets a bad rap for that but it was in my head when I started the series.
What’s next for these characters?
I took a few months off from this series and wrote another book – because those characters were asking me to tell their story. The first draft of that book is now complete which means very, very soon I will begin the sequel to Gifted. I have an idea of where it will go but truly the characters tell me. When I try and tell them it doesn’t work out very well. It turns out they’re just as stubborn in their lives as I am in mine 😉
I hope you all have a very safe, Gifted filled Thanksgiving! If you would like to give any of my books for Christmas gifts, please use the code 15off on my website for 15% off and remember to order early!
Thank you for making me and my characters a part of your life.