Between 1998 and 2005, I wrote for children off and on. I have a folder of rejection letters and a string of annoyed acquisitions editors, I'm sure, to show for it. But mid-2005, I felt this nudge.
There's more to be told.
So many people question that Scripture is relevant, that it has the answers for us in this day and age, that it can speak to the deepest cries of our hearts. I believe it is, it does and it absolutely can. To demonstrate that, I wanted to develop a story where I took believers, and put them in a very difficult – but still somewhat common – situation and then walk them through it. So what is the toughest situation believers face? Hmmm…
A blatant sin. How do you balance that with grace and forgiveness? What do you do with the hurt? How do you find restoration? But this is not a manual. It's a story.
I needed characters.
Characters that aren't perfect, who struggle with doing the right thing, who represent us. Bobbi is a teacher. We know teachers. She's a mom and a wife. We know moms and wives. We know these people. They could be living next door. They could be us.
Chuck is a lawyer because I didn't want finances to be an issue for them. Brad and Joel are good kids, again, because I wanted the focus to be on one issue. However, I know in real life, we rarely have the luxury of single-file crises.
Rita is there to say what we think, what we WANT to say, but don't. So many other characters are there to steer them the right direction. Tracy is in the background because the story is about Chuck and Bobbi reconciling.
I chose St. Louis for the setting – A. because its less than 3 hours from where I live, and B. because it's middle America. I had done a writing exercise a few months earlier and that became the opening. (That original stuff now resides – carefully edited and revised, of course – page or two into it.)
The point is, even in the best situation, recovering from adultery is difficult. Faith doesn't lead to pat answers. We hurt others. We get hurt. We struggle and we sometimes fail. But we are never hopeless and abandoned. Redemption happens.