How did you come up with the concept for Touching the Clouds?
My mother spent several years living on a homestead in Alaska. The only communication she and her family had with the outside world came via radio and the pilots who delivered mail. She always admired and trusted those pilots and often spoke of them with affection.
Over the years she’s given me several books about Alaskan pilots. Finally one day I sat down and read the first of many books about these courageous and uncommon people. I was enthralled by their stories and wanted to share them. Creating a novel seemed the natural way for me. I thought it would be especially fun if my protagonist was a woman pilot who challenged the north against all odds.
In addition, the idea of a solitary man with a hidden past came directly from my mother’s life on the homestead. There was a man who lived near her family whose past remained a mystery even until his death. I was given a copy of his diary and in the pages discovered a steady, hardworking individual who was kind and who lived honorably. But he was also lonely. I wondered what it was that he’d left behind and why he remained hidden in the Alaskan wilderness.
What is significant about Touching the Clouds?
Our past is part of our present. It affects who we are. We can use it to make us stronger and wiser or we can let it cripple us. Ultimately we choose. We respond in distinctive ways when dealing with tragedies we feel responsible for. As in real life, my characters Paul Anderson and Kate Evans in Touching the Clouds, book one of the Alaskan Skies series, choose different paths toward self preservation and restoration.
After a terrible accident causes the death of a dear friend, Kate boldly sets out to prove to the world and to herself that she’s not irresponsible and reckless. She runs toward a new future, pushing to find her destiny.
Paul, on the other hand, seeks isolation on an Alaskan homestead, a place where he can hide and grieve and where no one knows his past. He no longer trusts his God-given abilities and refuses to use them. Together, Paul and Kate, find a better way as they learn to trust each other and God who offers grace and peace.
Is any part of Touching the Clouds factual?
The story of Paul and Kate is pure fiction, but some of the places and background of the state of Alaska are very real as are the challenges pilots faced during that time period. Being an Alaskan bush pilot was and is difficult and dangerous. From the early beginnings of aviation, pilots have risked much and some have lost it all.