Some years stand out in my memory for the happy events: a wedding, the birth of a grandchild, a special vacation trip. Others are written in capital letters for the disasters that hit our area, which in the ridge and valley area of central Pennsylvania means floods. We’ve experienced what the weather service optimistically calls “hundred year floods” too many times in recent years. Each time, we were swept up in the perils of the moment and the hours of volunteer labor that came as our community struggled to put itself back together again. After the time we evacuated to a neighbor’s house on higher ground and watched our car and garage float past, I felt panic each time it rained—a familiar experience to some of you, I’m afraid!
As a writer, I always knew that someday I’d write out those experiences in a novel, and after the major flooding that hit in 2011, I knew the time had come. In SUSANNA’S DREAM, the second book in my Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley series, I forced my poor characters to relive my own memories and those of people I knew…frightening, funny, tragic, heroic episodes that show the proof of what a friend of mine observed—that a disaster brings out the worst in bad people and the best in good people.
Poor Susanna—as if she didn’t have enough troubles struggling against a handicap, undergoing the shock of learning she had been adopted, discovering that she has two sisters she’d never met, and fearing she might have her beloved Amish Gift Shop sold out from under her by her partner’s son. Now even nature seems to turn against her, as the oncoming flood threatens all she holds dear. Can she come through the waters to a new life?
People familiar with central Pennsylvania may well recognize the origin of my fictional community of Oyersburg. Although I’ve changed things to suit the needs of my story, the experiences my characters go through are real, experiences that show the heroism and generosity of real people faced with disaster.
I’ll be happy to send a signed copy of SUSANNA’S DREAM to one of the people who comments on this post!