No matter how it happens, it’s always hard to lose friends. As an editor on a continuity series, I can tell you it’s difficult to even lose fictional friends.
For two years, I’ve been working on the Guideposts series Home to Heather Creek. The series starts with the sad event of Denise Slater, a single mother of three children, dying in a car accident. Her children—16-year-old Sam, 14-year-old Emily, and 10-year-old Christophe—leave San Diego to live with their grandparents in Nebraska. It’s a shock for the whole family, and I couldn’t help but sympathize with them.
The 24 books in the series depict the two years following the children’s arrival. Needless to say, it’s a hard transition for everyone, including grandparents Charlotte and Bob Stevenson who not only had gotten used to not having young children on the farm, but now have to cope with the death of their only daughter. Given a second chance at parenting, Charlotte tries not to make the mistakes she made before, while still instilling her values. Her strong faith and supportive friends help her find her way.
For two years now, while addressing production schedules and typographical errors, and all the finer details of publishing, I’ve also become emotionally invested in the family at Heather Creek Farm. I’m just about Charlotte’s age, and although I grew up in a city rather than on a farm, I wonder what I would do in her situation. Sometimes I find myself wondering how the Stevensons are doing.
As we put the finishing touches on volume 24, and Home to Heather Creek comes to an end, I can’t help thinking how much I’ll miss my friends.
What’s so marvelous about all of this reading is how it connects me to my past—to the girl who used to laze away summer days, reading a good book on the grass.