I was fifteen, and it was Good Friday. The night before, I’d officially become David’s girlfriend (he’s now my hubby), and my best friend hadn’t been too keen on the news. We’d gotten into a huge fight, and it cast a pall over my day.
All things considered, it’s a good day to have a pall over. Feeling melancholy, lonely, and a little bitter, I sat down in front of the picture window and looked out at the mountain barely touched by spring. Pulled out my Bible, and opened it to the Gospels so I could read about the day.
I’d read the story before, many times. But that day, it really hit me. Wow. The things Jesus went through–the way the very earth reacted–the significance it had for all mankind. And being me, I wondered.
What would it have been like to be there that day? Not as some historical figure, but as an everyday woman, one lost in the crowd? What would she have seen? What would she have felt? And more, what if she had gone to the trial to see Barabbas condemned and had instead seen him set free? Would she have cried against the religious leaders that led the mob? Would she have opened her heart to the forgiveness Jesus offered those who persecuted him, or would she have closed herself off in bitterness? What would have happened if she’d been touched by a drop of his holy blood?
I sat down at the computer and wrote a six-page short story. Called it “A Stray Drop of Blood.” And knew, even that day, that it would be a book. Abigail had so much more to tell me about her life, about her heart. I also knew I wasn’t ready to write it yet. So I filed it away in the back of my mind and held it close to my heart.
I penned the first words during freshman year of college at St. John’s, as we read all those Ancient Greek philosophers. Wrote a little more during sophomore year, when we studied Roman literature and the Bible. I took notes–copious notes–and absorbed the culture like a sponge.
By the time senior year rolled around, the book was about halfway done. It was so intense a story that I couldn’t write it while classes were in session. But second semester, we had time off to write our senior theses, and I took the opportunity to hammer the book closer to finished too. I ended up completing it the same week I graduated.
It was a six year journey to that first draft, one that helped me grow in ways I never would have thought.
One thing I really wanted to explore as I wrote was what reality must have been like for those first believers. They didn’t have the New Testament yet, they didn’t have centuries of scholars whose works they could fall back on. They had the Law. They had Jesus’ teachings.
They had the Holy Spirit.
When my husband decided he wanted to get into publishing, he asked if we could use Stray Drop as his launching title. My first reaction? “No way! I want to send it to some huge publisher!”
Ahem. We see how that went. LOL. It’s a long book, had some issues (which I didn’t realize at the time), and no “big” publisher would touch it. So I became the launching title of WhiteFire Publishing, and we produced a few hundred hardbacks for a limited distribution.
I didn’t do much to promote or market, given that it came out about a month before my daughter joined us. I got caught up in mommyhood and let my poor literary baby molder.
Until we ran out of hardbacks. We decided to do a paperback version, and since it needed a separate ISBN anyway, I said, “Let me rewrite it. Let me bring it up to my current writing level.”
It deserved it. This story . . . I love this story. Even years later, having learned so much about how to be a writer, I love this story. So it was with great pleasure and a healthy dose of obsession that I sat down with A Stray Drop of Blood again and threw myself into the life of Abigail, Ester, Cleopas, Jason, Andrew, Titus, Caius, Samuel, and Benjamin.
I hope you get just as caught up in it as I did.
Return to Companion Guide