So, while some of the biggie
Here's a summary first of what Road to Damascus is about.....
Like it's biblical namesamke, the road into the Depression era, mountain community of Damascus, Georgia holds the same mythical powers of redemption and repentance. Within its rocky pathways lies the secret that binds a preacher’s daughter, the son of a cotton baron, and a black drifter to a lynching fifty years earlier.
Jackson Tate makes his pilgrimage to Damascus out of greed rather than soul searching. On a mission to acquire land for his family’s booming cotton mill business, he doesn’t anticipate his only stumbling block to be in mild mannered, Luke Nations, the pastor of a small church. Nor does he take too kindly when Luke’s daughter, Sarah, cools his sexual advances with a pitcher of ice cold water. But when a flash of blinding light leaves him a contemporary Saul, broken and bruised on the road to Damascus, the world Jackson knew is forever changed.
Amid the lush landscape of the mountains, Jackson is reborn not only through salvation at the very church he wanted take, but through the kindness of the Nations family who shelter and care for him during his recovery. It isn’t long before the reformed Jackson wins Sarah’s heart. When he brings her out of the mountains and back to his home in the big city, their newlywed life is forever changed when they befriend, John Christian, an elderly black drifter.
When John is falsely accused of murdering of a young, white woman, Jackson and Sarah hold John’s fate in their hands. Do they falsify a deposition claiming John wasn’t with them the night of the murder, or do they stand up to Jackson’s prejudiced family and execute a daring prison break along a backwoods road, embarking on a harsh trek to freedom through the rugged North Georgia mountains with Klansmen and hired mercenaries on their heels. Ultimately, the answer lies somewhere on the road to Damascus.
(11). I began writing RTD in June of 2008 after almost seven years of having the story with me, tucked away for the right time. When I finished in November of 2008, it was 160k words. Yes, it was an Epic Southern story! Since then, I’ve amped up the word wacker to shave off almost 65K words. Before you panic that I no longer have a story, I took out repetitive scenes, tightened the story, weeded out wordy parts, etc. There’s maybe three scenes that I’m really bummed to lose, but hey, that’s how the biz goes!
(10). The Road to
(9). I pay homage to another epic Southern story, Gone with the Wind, through Sarah’s nightmares from childhood. In GWTW, Scarlett often has dreams where she’s alone in the mist and searching for something she cannot find. In RTD, Sarah’s dreams stem from the premonition of her grandfather, George Lester. He dreamed when she was just six that she was alone in the woods with evil looming around her, and upon his deathbed, he warned her that if she was ever lost and alone in the woods, she should pray to him and he would lead her out. Since his death, she experienced the dreams. Often, they foreshadow when evil is about to effect one or more of the characters. And the dreams play out in the finale to something very interesting and extraordinary.
(7). The fictional “
(6). Because of the divine aspect of
(5). I did borrow names from family members. My grandmother, Jewel, and her sister, Essie, are both represented since Jewel and Ester are both biblical names.
But the name I borrowed the most would be my great-grandfather’s name, George Lester Lanning. When I first started writing the prologue, I had him only represented as “the stranger” like the Good Samaritan. But, I knew I needed a name, and I knew some aspects of this character were based off Papa Lanning’s name, so I made the character George Lester, and it stuck! This picture sits on my piano which faces the writing chair where I wrote all of RTD. I felt like he was watching over me from time to time.
(4). Leigh Nations was an amazing character to write since she is skilled in the Native American art of healing, and she is the one who saves Jackson’s life after his accident on the road to Damascus. She also uses the biblical teaching of The Power of the Blood to save
(3). I had several “woooo” moments or weird moments while writing. The first came when I was searching for scripture to put into a certain scene. I knew I wanted it to be the story of Lazarus and the rich man. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know my Bible as well as I should because I didn’t know which book that story was in. When I found it was in the book of Luke, I had goosebumps since Luke is the name of the character who would actually be saying the sermon. I had that happen on two separate occasions.
Then, I knew I wanted
(2). At its heart, RTD is a love story—both romantic and in its relationship between people. The unlikely romance between Sarah, a preacher’s daughter from the mountains, and Jackson, a rich cotton baron’s son, is just one of the great love stories of the book.
(1). While writing RTD, I sometimes pulled all nighters, and I wrote from to when the first rays of dawn stretched across the skies. Those nights were pure EXHILERATION. I sometimes felt like I was right there in the mountains with my characters.
So, there's just a bit of info on The Road to Damascus. As it comes closer to publishing time, I'll be doing more behind the scenes info stuff!