This novel’s initial draft was written in late 2012. A year later I was busy with The Hawk, but publishing this story was still a consideration. As the years passed, I found myself busy with family, from the arrival of grandchildren to my father’s death, then my mom’s recent passing. Another issue precluded me from releasing Heaven Lies East of the Mississippi, that of a sequel which I had planned on writing, but still has yet to emerge. So why am I now offering this book to the general public? It comes down to the theme of this novel, that even in the midst of abject misery, another day awaits.
When plotting this tale, I didn’t plan on Kendall’s about face at the end of Chapter 19, but characters often force their own agendas into the mix. Being true to how the finale unfolded, I left wide open not merely the possibility of a sequel, but had written myself into a corner of sorts. I stewed about that tight-fitting space every time I revised this book, then in 2016, I tacked on a few additional paragraphs, creating a means of escape. But still I vacillated, and this story remained unpublished. Last week I decided to give this manuscript a look, and as I read, my heart was assuaged not only by the wiggle room I’d produced, but in being reminded that regardless of how painful this day might be, better times are ahead. And I bet I’m not alone in needing that prompt.
I can’t say for certain that a sequel will materialize; I am still struggling to find time to edit my previous novel. Yet Kendall’s journey isn’t reliant upon a supplement; a recurring theme within my books is that while crap happens, if we chose to move forward, deeper compassion is one result. It’s not a lesson easily learned, but the ensuing liberty and ability to help others is worth all the heartache. I pray that this novel proffers peace and healing as well as enjoyment. And if I ever do pen a sequel, rest assured I’ll publish it in a timely manner. Heaven Lies East of the Mississippi is available on Smashwords and at other online retailers.