Writing each novel is as varied as each relationship in your life. Some are heart-wrenching; others are sheer joy. Under a Turquoise Sky was a little of both.
Oftentimes, the words poured out of my imagination so fast I could barely type fast enough. From the opening line of “As soon as the elevator doors closed behind her, Kailyn knew she’d made a mistake . . .”—the characters just took my initial premise and charted their own destiny.
Every day was a joyous discovery as I, the supposed author, waited to see where Aaron & Kailyn’s romance-a-thon from Charlotte to Shiprock would take me and readers next. They were such fun to watch and write. (I realize that statement might make me appear psychotic. For the record, characters do not talk to me. They talk to each other and I just take notes. Which makes me only slightly psychotic.)
From outright hostility to take-your-breath-away love, the outrageous things they would say to each made me LOL. Or, sometimes cry.
I had no idea at the beginning the emotionally wrenching issues that lay in both characters’ past. But as Kailyn early on describes Aaron to her best friend, CeCe, it was like peeling back layer after layer of an onion. And in the end, discovering a pearl of great value. (And yes, I realize I just mixed metaphors here.)
Truthfully, Aaron’s story haunted me. Because unfortunately his story is all too real. During the intense 3 month period of writing and editing this book, I often awoke in the middle of the night crying and praying for children caught in abusive situations. As one police officer told me, “One of the two largest issues facing America right now is human trafficking.” And sadly, domestic violence and sexual trafficking is endemic on Native American reservations. I am appalled—and gutted—by the statistic that one in three Native American women will be sexually victimized at some point in their lives. And usually, it begins in childhood. Honestly, I was a bit traumatized by this story God gave me. It took me months to pull out of it emotionally. I wondered for a time if I ever would.
Yet despite the harsh realities, this is a story of mercy and grace. How out of the tangled skeins of our life, Jesus can weave mercy and grace. How in spite of our weakness, Jesus is stronger. How deeply Jesus loves the least of us. My gratitude for Jesus calling me His—and never letting me go.
Looking back, I wrote Under a Turquoise Sky for the broken, wounded, and scarred—You who’ve struggled to just survive. It became my prayer that despite the lies you’ve been told and maybe still believe—that like the fictional characters of this book, you would discover no one is too broken that God cannot mend.
And when I came across the Navajo legend of the turquoise—everything in Aaron’s past came full circle to this moment in the fictional present. It was one of those divinely inspired encounters that happens at least once during the writing of each novel. The great Aha moment God is so gracious to provide. One of those moments that still gives me holy goosebumps when I recall it.
Always remember—You were worth the price He paid. Whatever your past, whatever you’ve done or has been done to you, I pray you will find in Jesus the bridge from brokenness to wholeness and go forward in God’s strength.
May you walk in beautiful obedience to the Shepherd of your soul. I pray you will discover the name by which He calls you—beloved—and fully embrace its significance.
And, I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had writing it.
For behind-the-scene photos of Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.