The inspiration for A Matter of Hope came from several places. The character, Luke came about as I was writing A Matter of Courage. As the younger brother to Trent Daniels, Luke wasn’t comfortable with the risk that Irene’s situation posed to his mother, brother, and sister. His opposition to the budding relationship between Trent and Irene needed more motivation than concern or even jealousy. Luke’s motive for not accepting Irene had to be from something deeper.
As I was writing a scene in Courage, it came out that Luke’s concern over Irene was because of his own broken heart.
At the same time, I was thinking about a female character who was raised in a polygamy community. I researched the lifestyles and effects of polygamy, in addition to meeting several women who were raised in a polygamy community. it was important that I understand the abuse and fear my character would’ve lived with, so that I could write from a place of authenticity.
I also applied my experience of being raised in a cult. Sadly, there are many cults. But all cults have the same make-up. Religion is used to control. Fear and intimidation keep members in submission to leaders and those in authority. Such organizations are closed loop, meaning people are threatened with isolation or being cut off from loved ones if they leave.
For those raised in abusive, religious communities, the results have life-long ramifications. Fear and insecurity are the norm. Trust is difficult. Relationships are damaged.
There is hope.
Hannah Brady had to overcome her upbringing. I wanted to show that it is possible to overcome fear. It is possible to build trusting and lasting relationships. Hannah escaped her controlling father and the fear she grew up in. But because she continued to make decisions out of fear, her father still controlled her.
The plot needed a compelling reason to bring Luke and Hannah together. A child presented a situation that would break down Luke’s walls and force him to go to Hannah.
The story needed a little boy who was smarter than average. Lucky’s intelligence is both a strength and a weakness. Luke and Hannah’s son had to encompass the best and the worst of them both.
The theme of second chances, finding hope in the midst of tragedy, and healing are woven into the story.
It took a year and half to write A Matter of Hope. But Luke, Hannah, and Lucky will appear in future stories.
A Matter of Hope is available on Kindle and in print.