Q. What inspired you to write your new series about angels?
The Avena Series, with the titles Hidden, Broken and Fearless, began as a thought in my head many years ago and developed over a series of events that happened to me during 2004 and 2005.
In 2004 I had just finished writing The Key, the third book of The Guardians of Time Trilogy. The Key was at the copy edit stage and almost ready to send to the printer for publishing. I had started to think ahead to what I would write next and one thing I knew was that it would be about an angel. Then I became ill. I was feeling run down and becoming short of breath. But I was a mother of three teenagers and didn’t think much of this until I found it difficult to climb the stairs at the front of my house.
It wasn’t long after seeing my doctor that I was diagnosed with aggressive Myelofibrosis (bone marrow cancer). My body was not making blood anymore and what blood I had in my system was turning into scar tissue and enlarging my liver and spleen. I found out later that I had only a few weeks to live, but a stem-cell bone marrow transplant using my sister’s cells saved my life.
I spent fourteen weeks in hospital, most of those in an isolation ward where I endured some very dark and seemingly endless days and nights. A few weeks into my recovery from the transplant I suffered a setback in the form of a fall, and because the chemotherapy had weakened my bone structure, I fractured several vertebrae in my low back. Over the course of the next few months, my spine (and my height) crushed down by seven inches. I had a lot to deal with and my pain medication had the side effect of making me drowsy.
But when I returned home I felt that I had been given a second chance at life, and my experience in the hospital had me thinking about the wonderful people, the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pain specialists, all my family and friends, my fans who wrote to me, and people I had never met wishing me well. Many of these people prayed for me, entire schools and prayer groups kept the prayers going. I was humbled and grateful for every prayer uttered for my return to health. Everyone who had been praying for me seemed like angels, and indeed to me they were.
My illness was the catalyst for writing The Avena Series. I took my thought of a story about an angel, gave it the theme of second chances, and developed my plan for three books. It took time to write due to the adjustments I had to make, the follow-up treatments, and my determination to build up my concentration levels again.
I am proud of my new series, and grateful to Bloomsbury Publishing for their wonderful support and belief in me. The Avena Series tells the story of an angel named Ebrielle who was abducted at birth, stripped of her name, hidden in a secluded valley on Earth, and raised to believe she is an average girl. But in her heart she knows she is different. How different puts her on a course of discovery, catapulted into action when she meets a troubled boy named Jordan. Their bond alerts the heavens, specifically her eternal soul-mate Nathaneal, a prince in the world of angels who has never given up searching for her, and unfortunately also the dark angel Lucien, whose obsession for Ebrielle brings the young loves and all the worlds of Earth to the brink of devastation.