Hold Back the Night is now enjoying a new home at your favorite online bookstore.
Well, okay, that’s not quite true. So far we still haven’t been able to get the book up at iBooks. Days of hard work, and there’s always a new issue. And Google Play’s still hiding behind a bush and making cat calls when we walk by.
But otherwise? If you check this link in the near future, hopefully you’ll finally find it for sale at iBooks and Google Play. In the meantime that link will take you to the book at Amazon, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. Update: Google Play is now included in the link and Apple, too, thanks to Proman who weathered at least six calls with the friendly–and they really are–people at Apple.
And yes, there’s a paperback version, too, for those of you who don’t like to read eBooks. It looks beautiful. We aim to please.
The story of how my novel Dragonslayer because Hold Back the Night–same book, different title and cover–can be found here. I told it a couple of blogs ago, how I came to write the book in the first place, and all the stages it’s been through since then.
Now, though, let’s talk about the story inside the pages. But let’s give it a twist. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a man named Thomas Stonehill and a woman named Garnet Anthony. Let’s ask ourselves the same tough questions they asked themselves before and during Hold Back the Night.
1–I thought I was doing everything exactly right. I baptized and married and held the hands of the dying. I preached God’s word twice on Sunday and every other chance I was given. So why did everything fall apart? Why do bad things happen to good people?
2–Since my faith is now seriously challenged, what will I do with my life? What can I offer a world that allows people to suffer so greatly?
3–Do I deserve a second chance at happiness? Or would any happiness be a travesty when the woman I married and loved lost every chance she had?
4–Why am I wasting my life trying to mend what’s broken and battered when I am all those things, too?
1–I was raised with low expectations. Well, maybe not raised that way. I was the child of a single mother with three daughters close in age. What we lacked in money and possessions, Mom made up for with love and creativity. But I grew up in The Corners, where I live to this day. I expect, hope, to die here, too. This is my neighborhood, my people. And while nobody will ever book a vacation here, we haven’t yet succumbed to total malaise. Some of us are still working to make things better. It’s even possible that the new guy in town, Reverend Thomas Stonehill, might be one of them. But that remains to be seen. So now the question. Am I wasting my life where it started? Could I have more of an impact if I didn’t have to fight for every inch I move forward?
2–I understand why kids join gangs. Everyone wants to belong. Everyone wants to feel that somebody else has their back. So I understand, but every day I ask myself if by trying to heal these kids and turn their lives around, I’m just prolonging the agony. Is every baby I save at the Maternal Health Clinic where I’m an administrator just one more future gang member?
3–If I have to marry a man I hardly know to keep doing the job I’ve chosen, is that too great a sacrifice?
4–With my own demons and those I see every day on The Corners’ streets, do I dare take on the demons of a man like Thomas Stonehill? Particularly when he seems determined not to confront them himself?
Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Amanda Quick) and I spent my last two blogs talking about the value of popular fiction, and the way it can transform the lives of readers. I think Hold Back the Night has elements we can all take with us after we close the final page. I know I took them with me after I finished writing it.
I’m particularly proud of this book. It’s definitely a romance novel, but it’s more, too. It’s a story of change, of redemption in the broadest sense, of our relationship with those people we love and in the end, with God. It’s a story of hope and transformation.
Many years after writing Hold Back the Night I had the honor of hearing Father Greg Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. Since them I’ve heard him speak several more times along with some of the young men and women who work there. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Father Boyle or “G” as his homies call him, run don’t walk, and bring plenty of tissues. His own story and the story of the people he works with will change your lives. He’s funny, irreverent, and did I mention funny?
I’m so grateful to people like Father Boyle. I didn’t model Thomas Stonehill on him, but I am delighted that Thomas has a real-life colleague in the trenches, many colleagues, I think, like Thomas and like Garnet. I’m so glad I had a chance to write about two of them.