Note From Nelani

 

When I think about what I would like to know about an author I was planning on trying out it made me realize that I didn’t have much information on myself on these pages.  Looking at the eclectic collection of stories it could be hard to make me out.  Of course as any author knows, so much of your life finds its way into the pages of your books, but for anyone to decipher what is from experience and what is purely fictional is quite the task, and really shouldn’t be attempted, as more than likely you will get it wrong.  Authors are REALLY good at observing and then imagining WHAT IF.  I think something that makes a born writer is just that.  I have heard it said that writers write, but I believe it is more like writers wonder.  So, though some of the things are taken from my life, other things are taken from seeing something unrelated to anything I’ve experienced and wondering what would happen next, what could have possibly caused it to happen, etc..

Before I get started on anything deeper sufficed to say my life has not been a simple life or a normal life.  I could write a book …and someday I probably will, but for now this space will have to do.

First some background.  I am one of nine children.  I am the 4th child, the first girl.  I have three brothers older than me Kirk, Devan and Keith and two brothers younger than me, Pat and Marc.  I have three sisters, Moana, Simone and Karen.  I am married to Barry and we have five children Josh, Jasmine, Sam, Heather and Autumn.  Heather and Autumn help me illustrate my books.  Josh has been doing some of the covers and all three of them have put poetry and artwork in Pathways.  Jasmine has done one cover.  Sam hasn’t done any artwork or writing in my books at this time, but he’s introduced us to Amber and her four children Isaiah, Noah, Kiara and William and they are in the newer books, starting with Seek God, Book One, Jesus the Way, as Heather used them in drawing some of the characters.

I am amazed by God’s creation and I wonder about what God will do with eternity.  Eternity never ends and so it will need to be filled up with a lot of happenings.  Eternity was going on before God created us and I wonder about what came before me, before us.  I wonder about what happens in Heaven.  I wonder about what happens around me that I can’t see.  I wonder about places I’ve never been and I dream up places that exist only in my mind.  I wonder why people turn out the way they do.  And that is only a little of what I wonder about.

I love God.  I love the life He’s given me even when it is hard and even though it had many turnings that have torn at the fabric of my heart.  He has given me more writing material than this lifetime will ever be able to touch, and He keeps giving me more.  I thank God for the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, so that we might be brought back into fellowship with Him.  I find that God gives me the abilities I need especially when I don’t feel up to the task.  Within my heart I am in a state of utter joy even if the world is crashing around me, and that is really a weird feeling to try to express.  I am touched by things that bring me to tears in the midst of that joy, and sometimes I feel like I can barely hold it all in.  Probably one of the reasons I need to keep writing.

I love being a mother and I love children, mine especially and the ones they bring into my life.  I love being a wife, probably more than most because I really and truly love my husband.  I can write about romance and true love because I know what it is.  I can write about romance and love after marriage, because I know what it means to be in love all these years later and be more in love than at the beginning.  I can write about struggles and hardships because I know what they are also.  But no matter what else I can write about I can write about hope, as that is always and everywhere within God’s creation and in the stillness for anyone to find.

I love animals and find they are one of God’s greatest gifts to everyone, whether they acknowledge Him or not.  I think that God is not done creating—that whole eternity thing—and I imagine what I would create if given the chance.  Since I can’t really create any of these creatures and worlds I dream up in any physical way I do so in my books.  I love gardening and find that you can really connect to God by gardening.  There are a lot of life lessons played out right before your eyes in nature.  I love to learn about natural health and healing and am constantly studying about herbs, how the body works, how what we eat impacts our lives, on and on.  I want to know everything edible in my environment, even if I don’t intend to eat it often.  I have found some of my favorite vegetables in things people would call garden weeds.  I have learned how to stop insect bites from itching with the right plant, what to do in the wilderness if I get a wound, what plants will work to help stop bleeding etc.  So I have fun using some of these things I’m learning in my books.

As some of you may have already figured out from some of my book titles, or those who’ve read my poetry in Steps and Pathways I am a born again Christian.  If you don’t know what a born again Christian means, it is not a great mystery.  Jesus said you must be born of the spirit as well as of the flesh to have eternal life—that second birth comes in accepting the sacrifice Jesus paid for our salvation and accepting Him as Lord.  A lot of people leave out that accepting Him as Lord part and that is why they fall by the wayside and turn from God.  You cannot just get the good stuff—eternal life, answers to your prayers—you are accepting Jesus’s Lordship over your life.  That gives Him the right to say “no” as an answer to prayer, or “wait”, not just “yes”.  That prayer of salvation makes every other prayer subject to the will of God.  If you are not willing to do that, you aren’t really serious about your soul or your salvation.

The Bible is a great place to find out that information and the Bible is an essential part of my life.  No one can truly lead a Christian life and leave the Bible out of it.  I take the Bible as straightforward from God and believe what it says.  I take verses in context and all contexts in the greater context of the whole Bible.  I do not try to make sense outside of what God says and I take Him at His word.  It is pretty simple, really.

Even if God is not mentioned in my book, which most often He is not, He is always present.  I stand by His goodness, His love, His trustworthiness, His perfection.  God is never caught off guard.  I believe that good will ultimately win out in the end, no matter what it looks like this side of eternity.  God’s ways are mysterious but I trust them.

I have been blessed by others’ works along my life’s journey, so let me tell you of some of them.  I always loved fantasy and C.S. Lewis helped me on my Christian journey.  He also brought the outer worlds to life in a way that didn’t discount God in his space trilogy.  Then of course Narnia was a wondrous place where I could learn life’s lessons through talking beasts and the lion Aslan.   J.R.R. Tolkien was another who helped me see how the fight of good and evil could take place in fantasy but still impact the heart of the reader.  But my greatest help came when the works of C.S. Lewis led me to who was to become my favorite author George MacDonald.

In the works of George MacDonald the imagination of my soul came alive.  The questions I had about God, about purpose, about life were answered in stories and in fairy tales where more truth was presented than I’d heard in many a church I had gone to since salvation.  I adopted George MacDonald as my spiritual father, though his life had been lived from 1824 to 1905.  But because of his books, his help lived on and touched my heart, and it continues to to this day.

God is eternal and what happens after He is done with us on Earth is something greater and grander than any of us can imagine.  But in the meantime I have fun with my imagination and presenting stories and poetry that hopefully gives joy and in some may cause you to pause to think.  This life is so fleeting and eternity so long.  Let your imagination lead you to the One who created you and it.

My life and writings are God’s—His gift to me and my gift to those who are blessed in any way through them.  If you have questions e-mail me and I will try to get back to you speedily.  But please put something in the subject line that will let me know you are not just one of hundreds of spammers.  If I don’t get back to you, try again with a different subject line.

Heather, Autumn and I put out a newsletter telling of our writings, events and contests with photos of ourselves and our puppies.  It is called Creature Companion News.  How many times a year it comes out varies, depending on our schedule and what is going on.  E-mail me to be put on our mailing list if you’d like to receive it.  Or if you order anything from me, mention it in the comment space.

As I said, I could write a book…but this will have to do for now.

See my biography on this website for more information and pictures of my illustrators and me.  It is update every now and then.

May God lead you closer to Himself.

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