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OakTara / Paperback
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Single mother Brooke Rohmer takes a cross-country train trip when her only child leaves for the Army and possible combat duty in Afghanistan. Bitterly she remembers her former husband's abandonment of her and her son. Though she longs for a change in her life, her choices, in middle age, seem limited.
Neal Hudson, a U.S. diplomat, still mourns his wife's death in an accident in the Middle East. He can't rest until his questions are answered. Did their argument lead to her death? And why was she in Beirut that morning anyway? Then, as his train streaks westward from the nation's capitol to the fjord studded Pacific Northwest, he discovers a devastating secret.
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Author: Ann Gaylia O'Barr
Located in: Whidbey Island, Washington
Submitted: June 20, 2012
Tell us a little about yourself. My husband and I live on an island in Puget Sound. We moved here after leaving overseas work with the State Department in 2004. I've written one thing or another all of my life, but my years overseas in different cultures have influenced my later writing.
What was your motivation behind this project? One motivation was to answer my question: What is the place of faith in a world where religious views are either abandoned or seized with fervor. Where does it fit in a time when religions increasingly compete and sometimes cause suffering? I gave my characters, with their own problems, this question and let them loose.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? Distant Thunder can be read as a love story between two people no longer young who carry baggage from past choices. On another level, the characters, of varying shades of religious conviction, deal with other issues. They struggle to define faith, or even to accept faith, within a time that asks if faith does more harm than good. Though Americans, they see domestic issues of their country through a global lens. Like characters from my previous novels, they are rooted in time and place because their struggles are the struggles of a particular time and place: American Christians since the end of World War II to the post 9/11 era.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? I just enjoyed seeing Neal and Brooke, two lonely people, deal with their past and fall in love at the same time.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I like Walker Percy, Wendell Berry, Marilynne Robinson, Chaim Potok, for starters. I have reread Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning several times.
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