Crossfire released on January 1! I’ve been so excited about this book. If you read on Wednesday, you know why. I wanted to share a bit more about the story with you.
This book was born when I needed something to focus on rather than some events happening in my life, so I challenged myself to write a book in thirty days. When Andrea and Josh started “talking” to me, their voices came wrapped in a whole lot of misconceptions and lies that they believed. They weren’t good enough. They had failed someone they loved. These two characters tapped into some of the deepest parts of me. We all have those things in our lives we wonder if even God is big enough to heal.
On September 11, 2001, I had to tell my second period freshman civics class that the whole world had changed. In that room I taught two brothers, Jon and Aaron. Even before that day, those two wanted nothing more than to serve their country. When 9/11 happened, you could see the resolve solidify. Both joined the Army. Both served overseas in the War on Terror. Both came home.
But only one survived. I was standing in front of my third period writing class in September 2011 when I received another life-altering message. Aaron was gone. On home turf, alone, Aaron left us to wonder how he could survive a war and yet have the pain steal him away.
His mother is a teacher friend of mine, and we emailed back and forth about Aaron one day. I told her about Crossfire, about how it was written six months before Aaron died, how it paralleled his story. You see, Aaron’s sister? She is now a licensed clinical addiction specialist, much like Andrea in the novel.
Crossfire, while it’s a suspense novel, also touches on what happens to the ones left behind when post-traumatic stress disorder rips a soldier away. The ones like Andrea, awash in guilt for what they missed, what they might have done differently. The ones like Josh, who strive to make atonement for their perceived failures. The ones who grieve lives lost on the homefront after the war should have been left behind. We’re slowly learning that when it comes to war, it is rarely left behind.
The guiding verse for the novel was Psalm 147:3 (NIV): “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” That’s my prayer for our soldiers for those who watch their loved ones continue to suffer “the unseen wound.” And so, this book is dedicated to Aaron, his twin brother Jon, his sister Angela, his parents Chuck and Terry… and all of the others like them, who are still fighting the fight.