I’m often asked about the story behind Flaherty’s Crossing and to be honest, it’s not an easy one to tell. My father was a hard-working Irishman who aside from expecting dinner on the table promptly at 5pm never had much to share or complain about. There were disappointments, of course, since money was often tight. But my dad was content working his blue-collar job, reading the nightly newspaper, watching sports, and visiting occasionally with neighbors. My only interaction with him came from camping and skiing trips where he spent most of his time working on outboard motors and insisting that my family had a good time. I never had a serious or lengthy conversation with my dad as he preferred to keep his emotions hidden away. But sixteen years ago that all changed when he was diagnosed with colon cancer.
Over the course of his two and a half year battle, I was given small glimpses into his past. I discovered that my father’s inability to communicate had little to do with the affection he kept buried inside. But this cruel disease was aggressive and soon took its toll. Before long, it was time for me to bid him a final farewell. I was not only heartbroken over losing a parent but also for never knowing who this man truly was. As a result, I was angry at him, at God, at the world in general. I needed an outlet to release all my pent up emotions and found it in front of my computer, punching away on keys. This therapeutic exercise gradually evolved into a related fictional story about a woman’s personal journey to find faith and forgiveness.
In the process of writing Flaherty’s Crossing and exploring my main character’s growth, I found myself learning and growing as well. I discovered I wasn’t alone. There were thousands of daughters and sons like myself who had similar stories to tell – who had strained, complicated relationships, but loved their parents none the less. I’ve learned that through my writing, I can inspire and touch lives and can urge others to mend fences and relationships before it’s too late. This novel truly has a purpose. Not only did Flaherty’s Crossing heal my heart, but I believe the message it carries can make a difference for other families as well. I’ve chosen to donate 100% of my proceeds to the cancer research center at Portland’s Providence Medical Center with the hope of finding a cure in our lifetime. This story has opened my eyes to possibilities and given me a voice that I plan to use in future stories with the intention of inspiring and uplifting lives.