Today is Mother’s Day. In two days my new novel, The Fire Trail, will be born. I have mothered it as best I could, and it is time for it to breathe in the public square.
It has been said that finishing and publishing a novel is like giving birth. It is true, for it is like another child in the family, this book of mine, but it is also like sending a young adult out into the world. I have found that once the novel is written, the year or so it takes to submit and be published is a time in which my characters bounce in my head, anxious to be out, quarrelsome and nagging like children on a rainy afternoon, and when the day nears they grow suddenly quiet, thoughtful in their anticipation. Today they are curiously quiet.
The Fire Trail will be released this Tuesday, May 10, by eLectio Publishing. Soon Jessica, Zachary, Anna, and Nate will join my many other characters from earlier novels that have found their place among readers, have found booklovers who took them into their hearts and homes. Just so, I shall soon release Jessica, Zachary, Anna, and Nate, letting their novel appear on bookseller sites such as eLectioPublishing.com, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com. These four characters shall be invited to live in laptops and iPads and iPhones with the click of a mouse, the tap of an app. They shall be on view, on lists, and on review by reviewers, celebrated in signings and voiced in readings. They shall people the pages, safe within the fiery cover, napping in the chapters.
My first novels, comprising my Trilogy of Western Civilization – Pilgrimage (Italy), Offerings (France), and Inheritance (England) – as well as my more recent novel of apologetics, The Magdalene Mystery (2013), are more religious in theme and content. Hana-lani, my fourth novel set on Maui, claims secular concerns, albeit embracing traditional family values. The Fire Trail is appropriately my most passionate, born of a desire to give life to our culture. For the history of Christianity that I traced in the Trilogy, a history that formed and continues to form Western culture, is no longer bequeathed in liberal academia, no longer considered necessary to democracy. And without a strong and true foundation of liberty and law, freedom of speech and religion, our unique and revolutionary civilization will crumble.
And so, ablaze with fearful passion, alight with desire to raise prophetic warnings, I wrote The Fire Trail. On these pages I give life to my concern through the words (and characters) of my characters. My concern appears to be shared by others, for it has been a fiery election year, one of spirited debate and manic maneuverings that have left some of us breathless. Words are fired between candidates and are quickly inflamed by media and gossip. We have left behind us a trail of also-rans who magnificently added their measure to the mix. God bless America.
And we can still those Godly words. We can still speak and write and worship without fear of reprisal, although the grievance culture threatens to shut us down any day. Speakers are disinvited from college campuses. Eggs are thrown in public forums. Police are forced to force a peace. The Supreme Court legislates, curtailing freedom and legalizing murder in the womb. We are so very close to anarchy that I sometimes want to crawl under the bed with my cat.
But I don’t. I decide to practice an attitude of gratitude rather than of grating grievance, for I am not only a mother of novels, I am a mother of sons. And thus I am thankful for all mothers, those who have offered their wombs to nurture new life, those who have fed their unborn with their time, talent, and treasure, those who care for the children given them. There is no job, no profession, no vocation, more important than being a mother. It is Godly and God-filled.
Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May, appropriately so since May is the month of Our Lady, Mary our Mother. And Mother’s Day lands this year on Ascension Sunday, the day we celebrate the pulling of Earth into Heaven, the bodily ascension of the resurrected Christ. For God the Father reaches through his Son to us, to Mother Earth, and pulls us up and into Heaven to be with him for all eternity. We ascend with the Son to the Father. And there is more, for soon, we know, the Holy Spirit will come like flames of fire to the disciples at Pentecost, empowering them to change the world.
The Fire Trail‘s release is thus bracketed by Ascension and Pentecost, when that fiery spirit descends upon each of us, transfiguring us so that we can transform our world through transcendence. It is this spirit, this burning love of God, that gives hope to humanity.
It is a rich season of light and of love, this season of May, this season of miraculous mothering.