Warning: this is a no-edit zone….
I am excited today. My copies of Her Perfect Life came in and it’s gorgeous. I love it when I look at a book and it strikes me that way. It also got me to thinking about the story again, and (indulge me, please) and I couldn’t resist reading just a little bit of it. I finished the book a few minutes ago, and I’m still sniffling as I write this. I love it when things work out as they should for people. It does my heart and soul good.
This book is all the more special to me because I waited three years to put it on my writing schedule. Some of you guys are going to laugh at me for this, but the truth is, I got too emotional to write it with any objectivity. Finally, I put my mental foot down on myself, said, “Hey, woman, do you really want to write this story or not?” And I did, and I did.
You have to understand that it’s the subject matter. Katie’s story didn’t just hit home, it cut into my bones. She’s a Captain in the Air Force and her plane crashed in Iraq. I have a husband who was an Air Force pilot and active duty when the war started and a son in Iraq. She was confirmed dead, buried, and her husband and kids, who were very young, went on with their lives. I was spared that, but feared it and had a friend with kids who buried her husband.
But Katie wasn’t dead, she was taken prisoner. And for six years, she lived that nightmare. But that wasn’t the story I wanted to tell. We can all easily imagine those horrors, and not to diminish them, but I wanted to know what happened when she came home.
A lot changes in six years. I think back to where my life was six years ago and of all the changes between then and now, and I imagine how difficult it would be to adjust to all those changes at once. And that was overwhelming, but it was nothing next to what Katie came home to find. Her husband remarried, her kids strangers to her but clearly loved and beloved by their step-mother. Home is gone.
And that’s the part that made me emotionally bleed for Katie. How do you rebuild a life when all you focused on to survive and get home is no longer there? How do you rebuild a life when everything’s gone?
Katie had more courage than I did, and so I wrote her story. I freely admit that I laughed and cried and raged against the unfairness and lack of justice in what she faced. And my heart shattered right along with hers. But she had the will to keep going and to start with nothing and keep pushing until she changed her future from one that was bleak to one full of promise and hope.
At the end of the writing I was wrung out. But I have to tell you. I flipped right back to page one and took the journey with her again…
I hope you guys find reading her story as enriching as I did. I hope it touches you in all the ways it touched me. If that happens, I will feel blessed.