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The Story behind the Story

The Call

’A Prayer from the Heart’ started as a thought, some paper and a pen. As I wrote, an emotional warmth welled up from inside of me. The story just flowed out and onto the paper. It came from deep inside my heart. The characters are real people who matter to me: my brother, Chris (RIP) and the family he left behind. God was also in this story – as He is in all our stories.

My Brother’s Death in 2008

My brother Chris was taken from us overnight, and without warning, at the age of 41. He left behind a wife and 3 young children- aged 3, 6 and 7yrs old. It was devastating for us all.

Chris died of broncho-pneumonia and general sepsis. He was a doctor, following in his father’s footsteps, and was also a wonderful husband, dad, brother and friend.

I still remember the day I got the phone call from my dad …I was getting ready for work early on 2nd of January and wishing that I didn’t have to go into work. Minutes later I would be calling into work and telling them that my brother had died and that I wouldn’t be coming in. 

Though the whole thing was so sudden and didn’t make sense that someone aged 41 and with a young family would be taken away into Heaven….at the same time, I also felt that this must be God’s timing and so it must be right.

First Draft in 2015

It was 7 years after Chris’s death that God called me to write a story. I didn’t know what I was going to write. When I sat down, I found myself writing a love story. A story in which I was able to bring Chris and his wife together again – and their 3 children too!

You might think that this is a story about friendship- and it is- but as I wrote it, I wanted Chris to meet his wife-to-be again, as if for the first time. I wanted to bring their whole family together so that they could be happy in each other’s company once more. 

I remember a beautiful phrase that Chris said about the relationship that he had with Shani – he said that they fitted together ‘like a hand in a glove’. 

And when Shani had given birth to their first child and Chris visited her on the ward-he brought her her favourite baguette – Shani said that he was ‘perfect’! It’s not often that you come across such a love.

The Characters

So, the characters are based on real people – on my beloved Chris and his lovely family.

I have changed the names of Chris’ wife and their children for anonymity but much of their personalities are the same. I hope that they can recognise themselves in the story! My brother was quite shy as a child but as he grew up, he became quite the extrovert! Shani, Orr, Zanna and Ozz are all very sociable and very sweet- but then I am biased!

So, as an author I didn’t have to try hard to create the characters for my story – because they were already in existence.

If anyone told me 10 years ago that I would be writing a children’s story based on my family – I would not have believed them!