What a year it’s been!

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I was watching my Christmas lights wink at me today from the comfort of my sofa. December always seems to go hand in hand with reminiscing. We reflect on the last 12 months, committing the highs to memory and banishing the lows to the year we leave behind.

Most, if not all of us, will be glad to see the back of 2020. The global pandemic and ensuing chaos has been challenging (to put it mildly). It’s safe to say no one has fully escaped its effects in one way or another. However, as 2020 draws to a close, I’m choosing to focus on some of the more positive outcomes we’ve seen. Communities have come together to support each other in tangible, unselfish ways. We’ve fed each other, clothed each other, and helped each other tackle these unprecedented times!

As December rolls in (and 2020 rolls out) I’m choosing to focus on the achievements of the year, rather than its pitfalls.

Perhaps the most significant (and in hindsight, ironic) personal milestone this year was seeing “When Falls the Night” come to fruition! I use ‘significant’ for obvious reasons – it’s been a lifelong goal of mine to publish a novel. When Falls the Night is the end product of decades of dabbling in creative writing (my hard drive can attest to this). Looking past my Christmas lights and seeing its cover binding among my other novels feels surreal – and empowering!

You’ll remember I used ‘ironic’ to describe publishing my book as well. Well, let’s be honest – there’s definitely been an apocalyptic undercurrent to this crazy year! We only have to look at our social media feeds to see the countless ‘zombie apocalypse meets Jumanji’ memes in circulation. Injecting a bit of humour into an otherwise difficult situation is always great – but ‘many a truth is spoken in jest’. This year has come eerily close to mirroring a lot of apocalyptic scenarios we’re used to only seeing on the big screen…

Or the pages of a book.

When I wrote ‘When Falls the Night’, it was important to me to accurately represent the grim reality of the post-apocalyptic world it features. However, I also wanted to convey a message of hope. That there IS life after death (whether literal or figurative). That we CAN rebuild ourselves and our communities. That tragedy can unite instead of divide us if we let it. That we can heal.

Healing and hope are gifts that everyone can offer. And while social distancing, tiers and restrictions may prevent us from imparting these in person, the power of the written word still stands. It’s why books have stood the test of the time, and are still one of the most popular gifts during the Christmas season when we’re all at home with time to reflect.

I started writing ‘When Falls the Night’ before I knew just how relevant it would become – and how soon! I’m now so thankful I was able to paint a picture of recovery from global (and personal) trauma. Reading back over it fills me with me hope for the future. Many of my readers have reached out and expressed the same.

If I could, I’d send every single reader a copy of my book right now. That’s how much I believe in its relevance to this year’s troubles and the coming year’s path to hope. And while it may not be conventional fireside reading (it’s pretty far from Charles Dickens), I’d like to think the reminder of God’s hand in our own through the darkest times is particularly relevant – and a gift that keeps on giving!

Before I sign off to collect my grandson from his Christmas Disco (another thing I’m thankful for, though never thought I’d need to be – support bubbles), I’ll include a link below for any of whose interest my musings might have piqued: (It’s on offer).

Back to staring at my Christmas lights lol!

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