Who is, or has been, an encourager or an inspiration in your life?
I have had many, especially along this writing journey that can feel like slogging through a swamp infested with alligators and snakes and pits of quicksand—in the dark and alone no less. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little, but I’ve always had an overactive imagination.
I began writing twenty years or so ago and a writing instructor,Trish, became my Barnabas. She taught a class for seniors in the community at one of our local hospitals. I called to sign up and was told I didn’t qualify. I wasn’t old enough. Imagine that. But I kept calling until the lady on the other end relented and said, “I guess we can let you come.”
I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone that I was fifty-two years old. Trish taught two classes, one creative writing, the other autobiographical. I first began writing the family stories—and I had plenty of material. Daddy thought everything I wrote was wonderful while Mother was horrified. She often said, “We don’t have any secrets any more.” I think I get my exaggerating traits from her.
Trish told me to keep writing. She helped me get my first tiny article published about my daddy’s Appalachian humor. She believed in me.
I give thanks to the good Lord for her.
Everyone needs a Barnabas. Are you one? Am I? We can be.
Note: You can read about Joses in the New Testament who the apostles named Barnabas--which is translated "Son of Encouragement."
The paragraphs below have been copied from the back cover. I couldn't enlarge the book enough to read the words on the back without a magnifying glass. Sigh. Hope you enjoy! Thank you for your patience. I am thankful to the good Lord for this journey to publication. Carol
Summer's steamy haze coats North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, but feisty Agnes Marie Hopper discovers the heat isn't the only thing causing her blood to boil. After a kitchen fire destroys her home, Agnes moves in with her daughter, Betty Jo. Three months later they come to an understanding. Neither can tolerate living with the other. So on a sultry August morning Betty Jo drives Agnes and her few belongings to Sweetbriar Manor, a local retirement home and a former house of ill repute.
With no intention of staying, Agnes devises a scheme to sneak out of the Manor and find another place to live. Before she can make her exit, she runs into her best friend from high school, along with some other quirky characters. With a nose for trouble, Agnes learns some of the residents are being robbed, over-medicated, and denied basic cable and Internet access.
Armed with nothing more than seventy-one years of common sense and a knack for pushing people's buttons, Agnes sets out to expose the unscrupulous administrator, protect her new friends, and restore Sweetbriar Manor's reputation as a "rewarding and enriching lifestyle." But the real moment of truth comes when Agnes is forced to choose between her feisty self-reliance and the self-sacrifice that comes from caring for others.
Carol Heilman, a coal miner's daughter, married a farmer's son, her high school sweetheart over fifty years ago. She and her husband live in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Their children and grandchildren live near the east and west coasts where they often visit. Carol enjoys traveling, reading, writing, hiking, and cooking for friends. She is a recipient of two Carrie McCray Awards for writing excellence.
This page is dedicated to my inspirations and those who have enriched my life along the way.