It’s official! “Unseen Road to Love” is now here! And to celebrate I want to share with you the unpublished author’s note about the events in the book inspired by real people and events.
#1 – Logan’s accident was inspired by my real life accident. It occurred December 7, 2012. I was walking across the street that evening (literally a block from my apartment) when two people turning right at the intersection didn’t stop at the stop sign. My left knee and face was lacerated, my nose crushed-in, and I received a severe concussion. In that moment I wasn’t unconscious. I remember laying in the road, feeling blood on my face, seeing how scared the men were, and the courage and kindness it took for them to make sure I got to the hospital safely. I was in the hospital 3 days, and took my college finals the following week. To this day I have no long term injuries. A real miracle in my life.
#2 – Logan’s height. Throughout the years I’ve had several guy friends close to 6’4. They always gave the best hugs, but holy Hannah, I’ve been knocked off balance a few times by them not knowing their own strength. Worth it 🙂
#3 – Annie is based on my real life friend! In the book she is described as “fun sized” just an inch below 5 feet. Featured in the phot above on the left. We were college roommates, and is best known for her cute style and memorable laugh. She married her high school sweetheart and is still one of my most influential friends today.
#4 – Savannah “Savvy” is real too! Though her love story with James is my own creation, he sparkly personality, nursing skills and boss cookies…all her! Featured in the above photo on the right. In fact both Annie and Savannah were both my college roommates at Dixie State University. On the About the Author page, these are the very friends who introduced me to all things happiness in books, and pumpkin cookies!
#5 – Addie and Logan’s musical talent. I’m not a gifted song writer, but I did write a custom love song titled “Heaven on Earth” for my dear friend, Alisa’s, wedding. She couldn’t find one with the right voice, lyrics, and meaning that fit the way she felt for her now husband. Secretly, I wrote one for them as a wedding present. Grant Matheson, who is a current member of the band Advent Horizon, generously recorded the melody on his guitar, and the famous and talented, Joy Frost, beautifully sang the lyrics. Music has always been a big part of my life, but this event inspired me to add more music in the story. The experience gave me lasting inspiration until the very end.
#6 – Dixie State University is my alma mater. I lived in St. George for three years, teaching preschool. Like Logan, I didn’t have a car and often road the Sun Tran everywhere I went.
#7 – “Farkle”. During the holidays, occasionally my extended family and I play the infamous dice game. One year I was reigning champion, and I never let anyone forget it. 😛
#8 – Andy Grammer. He really did perform at Dixie, and it was coolest experience! His music inspired pretty much the whole story. You can read more about it in my previous tribute post to him.
#9 – Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy: It’s a very brief snippet, but Logan mentions using one after his accident. It’s a chamber one sits in as pure oxygen is pumped into the body to aid in tissue repair. I used one twice, before and after my own accident. And the man who introduced me to hyperbaric chambers inspired a lot of Logan’s personality towards the end.
#8 – Mark and Logan’s brotherly bond. While living in Salt Lake, I befriended a set of brothers, and they were 6’4 studs who often referred themselves as “the Weasley Twins”. Grant, who was previously mentioned above, and Jon who has the sweet motorcycle skills, and will no doubt be featured in a future novel 🙂
#10 – Zucchini brownies: Alisa, who was mentioned in the fact above, is notorious for her zucchini brownies, which are healthy in a sense…before she adds the chocolate chips and frosting.
#11 – “Scum”: A game my singles ward friends often gathered to play, and dominate at. One of my favorite card games.
#12 – Addie’s profession: Like her, I taught preschool in St. George, Utah and moved back home to teach at an elementary school. The most rewarding and hectic times of my life.
#13 – Tommy: Though my dad is still on this earth, he was in the military when I was younger. His voice is exactly who I heard as I wrote Tommy’s letter. Another snippet: Just like Addie’s dad, mine would let me stay up late and watch Star Wars with him until I fell asleep.
#14 – Pizza: The first dates Logan takes on are based on a perfect day when a really great friend treated me to an amazing pizza place that changed my life. This was the beginning inspiration for Logan’s character. It made for a lasting memory I needed to share. Shout out to Rusted Sun Pizzeria in SLC, Utah! And to Adam MacKay, for being awesome in every sense of the word.
#15 – Flirt running: A boy I went on a date with did just that! I found it very cute and clever.
#16 – Addie’s song: I’ve always wanted to learn the ukulele, because I loved it when friends brought them out to jam. At my friend’s wedding reception, she had brought one out to sing to her new husband one of the happiest love songs ever. If you read the book, you know what part I’m talking about!
#17 – Peggy: Is based on the amazing Peggy Matheson! And she the real mother of the mustache brothers featured above. Having spent time in her home as I wrote this novel, and watching their whole family interact, I was inspired to no end. Not just a fantastic for who she is in general, but also a talented actress you may know from the 2014 film “The Saratov Approach”.
Have you ever listened to an album and felt chills run down your spine, inspiring a vast spectrum of emotions imploding in your brain and chest cavity? I’ve had many different reactions to different artists, but today is my tribute to two particular artists – Jon Schmidt and Andy Grammer.
In June of 2012, Andy Grammer came to perform at Dixie State where I attended college. At that point in my life, I live in a bubble. I hadn’t heard of him, nor his opening act, Rachel Platten. Of course, it was before her hit singles, “Stand by You” and “Fight Song” even existed, but still…holy crap, I was in a room full of talented greatness! Some may disagree, but the sound, lyrics and energy was everything my soul needed at the time.
Towards the end when Andy had someone take a photo of he and the entire audience I was in, it completely made my night, especially when Facebook resurfaced that memory after 5 years. I found it so poetically perfect sense it was his newer album, Magazines or Novels, that inspired my upcoming novel, Unseen Road to Love.
Ideas for my book had been roaming around my head for years, but I wasn’t motivated to begin the writing process until after my friend’s birthday party. His girlfriend at the time had planned a big surprise, and I showed up to find his friends, family, food, cake and massive blowup slide in his backyard. And if said friend is reading this right now, call me, it’s been awhile. Anyway, there was a moment amidst all the awesome chaos when I noticed them gravitate towards each other. And for a few minutes the world around them disappeared.
The exchange was sweet and gave off a genuine feeling that suddenly inspired my main characters, Logan and Addie. I could see their personalities, their lifestyles and what their interaction would be like if they were put in the same room. Right then the story had a foundation, but now it was time to learn about their history, and determine their future. In doing so, I discovered Andy Grammer’s album.
“Kiss You Slow” – Logan’s secret sensitive side his connection to Addie.
“Pushing” and “Sinner” – Logan’s desire/struggle to be spiritually helped.
“Back Home” – The bond between Logan and his family.
“Co-pilot” – Logan and Addie’s relationship.
In the book, a particular musician, Jon Schmidt, is mentioned, as well as one of his songs, “Christmas Medley. This was before he was officially a part of The Piano Guys. He frequently performing at my high school back in Riverton, Utah, and that song not only inspired the whole scene it’s mentioned in, but the whole nature of the book. It’s what inspired me to give the whole book and Christmas/redemption theme, and I get chills every time I hear it. Like “Hedwig’s theme” is to Harry Potter… “Christmas Medley” is to Unseen Road to Love. At least in my point of view.
So to Jon Schmidt and Andy Grammer, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your musical talents with the world. I hope I can inspire in a similar way, and perhaps one day I’ll get a real photo with my heroes lol.
As far as inspirations go, I have so much more to tell, but I’ll wait until after April 11th to give you more of the juicy details. There’s quite a few shout outs to real events and people who inspired the book. Some of which are intense and awesome in my opinion. So stayed tuned for next time!
Cheers to you, XO
While the momentum is going, I want to tell everyone about the book, Daughter of Ishmael, that gives a true definition of feminism and how it will inspire modern day women. No matter what religion you are from, I encourage EVERYONE to read this book.
As a writer, it’s super cool how I get to meet incredible authors and recently I got to know the amazing Diane Stringham Tolley. She gave me the opportunity to read Daughter of Ishmael before it was sent to print, and after doing so, I can easily say her story is a truly captivating and emotional take on the strong and courageous women we know from the scriptures. Many of us have probably guessed what it would be like to be the wife or daughter of a prophet, but this book gives a detailed perspective on how strong and important they really are.
This last week, the media has been filled with stories of women defending their rights in multiple ways. How I’ve chosen to recognize my rights as a woman is comparing myself to the character Tolley chooses as her main voice. I think about my childhood, worrying mostly about my education while she thought about her service to her family. I thought about how sad I was to move into a different home and leaving all my friends, while she was forced to travel into the wilderness, leaving behind all wealth and treasured possessions behind.
As a teenager, I thought the boys I had crushes on and excited I was to attend my first dance. By that age, she was betrothed to man of her father’s choosing; a man she worried about when it came to his moral character. I thought about the 12 hour car trips I’ve taken that felt long and tedious, while she traveled for years in the desert on camel back with no certainty of when and where her family would end up.
I think about my discouragement of finding my future spouse and one day starting a family, and she feared her complete inability to have children during a time where producing healthy posterity determined a part of a woman’s value. If not, men took on more wives to ensure that posterity. I sometimes fear how hard motherhood will be, while she carried her child and gave birth on a boat with no doctors amongst family members threatening to kill one another. I think about how few responses I get to my posts—making what I have to say unimportant. She feared her family would literally start a war if they wouldn’t heed her advice about peace and the gospel.
The very fact I can express this to you right now, is a pretty solid reminder to me that I’ve had more freedom than I recognize on a daily basis. I choose to express it differently, but at the very least our leaders heard what we have to say and hopefully will take it into consideration. I’m not worried or scared about the future, but mainly because I’ve been so blessed to live in a country and time period where I can live comfortably and do what I love. I’m choosing to thank previous leaders who were inspired by the woman I described and saw value in that. I also admire the men in my life who do as well.
Again, no matter what religion you are from, Daughter of Ishmael is absolutely brilliant. If these women can cross oceans without rights, imagine what we could do with ours. Until next time…
Cheers to you XO
P.S. You can order your own copy with link below