Today, I’m sharing with you the most intensely personal interview I have ever done. When I was first sent these questions, I never thought answering them would help me make peace with feelings I’d been unconsciously suppressing for many years, but I am so thankful that this was the case. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last few days because of this, days that have been painful yet necessary for me to heal in many areas of my life and find joy again where before there was nothing but sadness and confusion. And speaking of joy…this interview has given me, truly, for the very first time, a venue to share my feelings with you all about the amazing man, my beloved soulmate, who has changed my life in so many glorious and magnificent ways since we’ve been together. I hope you enjoy not only reading about him, but also about a few important books that have touched my heart, some of my inspirations, including one legendary panther, and many other things, both serious and silly!
I’d like to take a moment to say a special thank you to Jean, of Jean The Book Nerd. You couldn’t have known how these questions would affect me when you sent them along, Jean, but I will be forever grateful that you did, and also for how kind, caring, understanding, and wonderfully generous you’ve been to me throughout this entire process. Thank you so much!!! *hugs*
Additionally, Jean is hosting a giveaway of not only Deadmarsh Fey, but also my supernatural thriller, Corcitura. You can enter for a chance to win a Kindle copy of each novel by clicking here.
And now, without any further delay, onto the interview…
- What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
It wasn’t a distraction, but taking a wrong storytelling direction kept me from writing Deadmarsh Fey for an entire year. 2013 was spent working on what would become the fourth book in Dwellers of Darkness, Children of Light (the series Deadmarsh Fey launched), only I didn’t know this at the time, which was why writing this book out of sequence felt very wrong, not to mention terribly frustrating. There were things happening in this novel that I had no explanation for, and an untold history of how this world my characters found themselves imprisoned in had come to be.
When my mind cleared enough for me to be able to envision the trajectory Dwellers of Darkness, Children of Light, needed to take, I realized that these stories—begun as prequels to a fantasy series I’d started writing in 2003, a series in which some characters from Deadmarsh Fey were my main adult protagonists—had taken on lives of their own, and were now demanding to be told, and unless I gave in, I’d never be able to understand what had affected the characters in those original books so strongly when they were children, and molded them into the adults they became. And then the Dark Wreaker burst onto the scene, with a horde of devils in his wake, and changed everything.
Even though the experience I underwent in 2013 was incredibly frustrating, I do not regret the time I spent working on that fourth book. What was written in it (and the novel is fully written, though it will alter dramatically when all is said and done) laid the foundation for nearly every myth and legend—even inspiring a number of significant events in Deadmarsh Fey—that I would have never known how to interweave throughout the series if I hadn’t written that fourth book first.
- Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Yes, Crime and Punishment, when I was seventeen. I had always enjoyed reading, but it wasn’t till I lost myself in this masterpiece that it truly became a passion—and opened up avenues I never would have considered traveling down, nor had the courage to do so, till I made the acquaintance of this book. The masterful way Dostoyevsky painted with words astounded me. I was absorbed by the rich psychological portraits he was able to delineate with a few strokes of the pen, and all the force of his imagination. Since then, only this year, in fact, thanks to my beloved, I have been exposed to other writers who remind me of him, most notably Knut Hamsun and, very recently, Ivan Turgenev, both of whom have that same lyrical touch, an equal genius for capturing the essence of a human soul and sketching it into life upon the page. Though the canvasses they painted their visions upon are much smaller, their portraits are no less penetrating and brilliant. And yet, while Crime and Punishment was over 700 pages, I remember wishing it had been longer, and I missed the characters, even Raskolnikov—whom I had intense sympathy for, which just shows how adept at evoking pathos and emotion Dostoyevsky was, getting me to feel compassion for a man who had done such terrible things—when my time with them in 19th century Russia was over. Much like my experience reading David Copperfield five years before, it was as though I’d lived alongside these characters, suffered with them, endured their trials, even felt the panic of the net closing in around one character in particular… My emotions ran the gamut; I was inspired, exhausted yet exhilarated, and found myself with an insatiable longing to create that only writing could fulfill. I don’t believe in coincidences, and know it was no accident I read this book on the heels of a paradigm-shifting moment in my life—and that it proved to be the final push in the right direction I needed.
From a very young age, I’d wanted to be a marine biologist, even though I always seemed to be scribbling down stories on whatever scraps of paper—sometimes napkins and tissues, honestly—were near at hand, and began working on my first novel when I was fourteen. To me, writing has forever been and will forever be a key that unlocks hidden doorways into other worlds, and I felt I was being called to dedicate my life to exploring these universes of the imaginal realm—and making them my own. Yet it wasn’t until the winter of 2001 (a few months before reading Crime and Punishment), as I sat in a darkened theatre, enthralled and enraptured by my first glimpse of Middle-Earth, that light shone onto the path I was meant to take. I owe this illumination to Gandalf and the words of wisdom he spoke to Frodo in the caverns of Moria, when hope was at its lowest ebb:
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
In my heart, in that moment, I knew what I was being asked to decide. And so I made my choice—never looked back.
- Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Writing a book is an intense, often quite solitary, endeavor. While you are lost in the creation of it, and especially when the work is done, you can’t help wondering, with a mix of hope and dread, if anyone will love the book as much as you do. Yet once the story has been released into the world, it ceases to be yours alone, and you must, however wrenching it might be, let the characters—and this tale you’ve poured your being into—fend for themselves. As the poet Paul Celan once said, “a poem, as a manifestation of language and thus essentially dialogue, can be a message in a bottle, sent out in the—not always greatly hopeful—belief that somewhere and sometime it could wash up on land, on heartland perhaps. Poems in this sense, too, are under way: they are making toward something.” Should this not be what every writer, whether of poetry or novels, strives for? This concept of the “heartland” affected me deeply when my beloved shared it with me a few months ago, because Celan’s words crystalized what I’d always felt. With each book I have written, but most passionately regarding Deadmarsh Fey, my goal, my wish, has been that my characters, and these realms they populate, would resonate with readers and move them in meaningful ways, hopefully changing them for the better, and making them think differently about their inner lives and the world around them.
And that is why my most rewarding experience since being published has been how people have reacted to Deadmarsh Fey. From these reviews, it is obvious that many readers have understood the book, “gotten” it, as it were, and let themselves be seized by my story. And, what’s more, are incredibly excited to discover what happens next in this saga known as Dwellers of Darkness, Children of Light. All this fills me with joy, because it shows that my message in a bottle, for these readers, at least, has washed up on the shores of their hearts and struck a chord within their souls that I hope will reverberate for many long years to come.
- In your new book, DEADMARSH FEY, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Every novel in Dwellers of Darkness, Children of Light is told in a different voice, written from the perspective of a new protagonist through whose eyes we see the story. In Deadmarsh Fey, the eyes belong to Roger Knightley, ten years old and cousin to Havelock (Lockie), the Deadmarsh heir. Roger is a firecracker, and though but a child, is a well-read one (reared on the mystical and often blood-soaked legends from both sides of his lineage, Welsh and English), which has resulted in his having an extremely vivid imagination. Sometimes, this can be problematic, but it means that Roger hasn’t yet been poisoned against the fantastical, or robbed of his sense of wonder. Since he has no trouble accepting the inexplicable at face value, he is quicker to understand and recognize the dangers the creatures tearing out of the Otherworld and into our own pose to himself and his family than the adults—and those who supposedly have all the answers—surrounding him. He also has a wry bent to his personality, and a stubborn streak, that help and hinder him in various ways as the book progresses. And he’s obsessed with dragons. You’ll have to read the novel to discover if this proves fatal to him, and others, or not.
Regarding the heart of the story, the events in Deadmarsh Fey, though cloaked in the garb of fantasy, are truly about fighting for those you love, and all you hold dear. This is the supreme driving force behind Roger’s actions and those of his friends and allies. It’s not just about survival, or stopping the Dark Wreaker—a nebulous entity who has bedeviled the Deadmarshes for seven hundred years—and his army of Jagged Ones and blood-tied horrors, both fair and foul, from being unleashed upon this earth, but about saving the very souls of those who are most important to you, those you’d sacrifice everything for. And that is something that has appealed to me far longer than I can remember, not only in storyweaving, but in life.
Also, whether we are aware of it or not, each of us has a fundamental longing for “home.” By that, I don’t mean a dwelling, but a deep ache in the heart to find the place we truly belong. When it comes to my writing, my “home” has always been in these Otherworlds I have created—perilous realms infected by a darkness hell-bent on destruction…yet these realms are not hopelessly desolate, but seared with beauty and light, peopled by characters who heed the call to lay everything on the line for a chance(sometimes infinitesimal) to defeat the evil that threatens to annihilate everything they love, for they have realized that their world, though fallen—and not so dissimilar to our own—is worth fighting for. When reading my books, especially Deadmarsh Fey, I hope you lose yourself in these worlds, that you let go and journey along with the characters, grow attached to them, possibly even become them if only for a brief while—seeing in them a reflection of yourself. And if by doing so you discover what your “home” is, then that is reward enough, for it will mean I have made the best use of the time that was given to me.
- What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
That I had to trust them enough to let them have free reign. They knew better than I did where to take the story…because it was theirs, and they were living it. All my characters were extremely vivid in my imagination when I began writing the book (save for one or two who materialized out of nowhere mid-novel and drastically changed the course of events), but Kip, and especially Carver, presented themselves to me almost fully formed. I didn’t have to do much of anything with those two, besides let them take center stage and steal whatever scene they were in, which Kip did with dignity and gravitas that would have made the ancestral fylgja, guardian spirit of his family, proud—and Carver did with enough demonic savoir faire to make the devil himself turn green with envy.
I know many people might find it hard to believe, or even slightly crazy, that characters an author creates can became separate flesh and blood entities from his/her imagination, but at a certain point, my characters did, demanded to be let off the lead, and I had no choice but to comply. Trying to maneuver events in an inorganic way, forcing things to go in the direction I thought was best, rather than what the story and characters were calling for, would have stalled the book and turned it into something completely different, and much less cohesive—not to mention deadly dull. To a much, much lesser degree, the characters in my last novel, Corcitura, asserted themselves, too, but never had this happened with such immediacy as it did in Deadmarsh Fey, to the point where I feel that I was just the facilitator for this book. Roger and Company were the real storyweavers, and once I realized this, I passed the tiller into their hands, and let them steer the ship where they willed.
- Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
There was no way I couldn’t tell this story. Once I made the decision to write Deadmarsh Fey, once my year of confusion had come to an end and I determined the course this saga would take, I was seized. There’s no other way to describe the intensity of emotion that came over me. Not long afterward, once the characters had nudged me out of the way, the book began, essentially, writing itself. I love my first two novels, I always will, but there is something different about Deadmarsh Fey, something unique, that I didn’t experience when writing these earlier books. With this novel, I discovered what I was meant to write—fantasy, or rather, dream-sagas, as my beloved has christened them. There is a quote by J. R. R. Tolkien, who has been a defining force and inspiration not only on my writing, but also in my life, that struck me when I first heard it more than a decade ago, because I agree with him completely: “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory.” I’ve always understood him to mean that fantasy writers craft what we do not to escape our world, but to understand it. By losing myself in my invented universes, worlds that mirror our own in strange and startling and often unsettlingly familiar ways, I feel I have found where I truly belong, finally fulfilling the gnomic wisdom Gandalf spoke to Frodo, and, unknowingly, to me, those several years ago.
- What was the most magical thing that happened while creating Roger?
This was an especially hard question for me to answer, and intensely personal. I started out with one response, which I still think is partially valid, but a few days ago, it came to me—quite suddenly, shockingly, and with no small degree of heartache—that Roger and I had a much deeper bond than I’d realized until something of a personal nature happened to me this week that brought painfully intense emotions I’d been unknowingly suppressing rushing to the surface. It wasn’t a pretty picture when this happened, but it was necessary, and cathartic, and gave me tremendous clarity about this character and what he really means to me—and revealed why I had always felt so much love, tenderness, and compassion toward Roger when I was creating him, and do till this day.
To begin with, I originally believed the most magical thing that had happened when I wrote Roger into being was that I became him in so many ways. It was a natural thing to have occurred—and I’m sure many authors feel the same way about their creations—since Roger was my main protagonist. But he always, strangely, felt more like my own flesh and blood than any other character I’d ever created before, and it wasn’t only because Deadmarsh Fey is told in third person, restricted, which means I, perforce, had to see everything through Roger’s eyes—all that was glorious and nightmarish, good and evil, one more often than not masquerading as the other and making it nearly impossible to distinguish friend from foe. Yes, I had to put myself into the shoes of this ten year old English child who was obsessed with dragons. Yes, I had to imagine what his reactions to things literally out of this world would be. And yes, most imperative of all, I had to know him better than I knew myself, and needed to do so in order to make him live and breathe on the page and be real not only to me, but to anyone who ever chose to read his story and journey by his side into the perilous realm he called home.
But it wasn’t until very recently that I realized, with the force of a punch to my heart, just why Roger had always been so dear to me. Without delving into too much detail, for over a decade, I endured a very desolate period of misdiagnoses and wrong information regarding a health issue that has a chance to be fully resolved in the coming weeks, and was told throughout these preceding years that many things I had always dreamed of, many joyous events most women, I imagine, would want to happen in their lives, would not be possible for me to experience. During this extended dark night of the soul, my books became a lifeline, an outlet into which I could pour my heart and being, and never more did I do this than with Deadmarsh Fey…because of Roger, even if the full realization of why wasn’t brought home to me till seventy two hours ago when I finally understood the reason it felt so right for me to have always thought of him as my flesh and blood, although I never phrased it like that to myself till then, nor had I been aware that any name needed to be given to the feelings unconsciously caged within my heart.
After an intense few days of soul-searching, anguish, and tears—lots of tears—I finally understand why Roger is so precious to me, and why I feel so close to him, even still. In him, I saw the son I hoped to have one day, and believed I never would be able to. Revealing this to my beloved (who was with me when the dam holding back my suppressed emotions broke), reflecting upon it, and discussing how it had affected me without my knowledge, until the events of this week triggered clarity of mind, touched him deeply and opened up a way of thinking that made immediate and incredible sense to me, and allowed me to realize that I can now let Roger go. Watching this literary child of mine mature and grow in successive books will be vital for me—and part of the healing process, I suspect—but I understand, now, that while I will always love Roger, and he will forever be in my heart, my love doesn’t have to be confined to just my literary son. One day, it can be given to the real child whose very existence need no longer be a nebulous and unattainable dream.
- If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I considered having Roger meet Smaug, but quickly came to my senses. Tolkien’s beast isn’t exactly the nicest of souls (Need I bring up the whole “I am Fire! I am Death!” thing?), and having a dragon-mad child obsessed with conscripting a fire-breather, any fire-breather he could get his hands on, into one insane scheme after another—a child determined not to take no for an answer—would have resulted in Roger being torched into a little pile of ash in two seconds flat.
Then I contemplated initiating a meeting between Roger and Puddleglum from C. S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair (my third favorite Narnia book after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew), but Roger would have gotten fed up with the marsh-wiggles’s doldrummy woe-is-me-ness after about 6.9 minutes.
In the end, I settled on Bagheera of Jungle Book fame, who just so happens to have earned a passing, and incredibly sarcastic, mention from Master Coffyn in Chapter 19 of Deadmarsh Fey. I’ve been fond of Bagheera for most of my life, ever since I first saw the animated Jungle Book when I was a very young child. He’s just so lordly and majestic, wise and, let’s be honest, awesome. Another reason for my admiration is that I love cats, especially black ones, but because I’m slightly allergic to them, I have had to express my affection for these beautiful creatures from a distance by putting them into my novels, hence the reason Kip plays such a huge and pivotal role in Deadmarsh Fey.
And that brings me to why I’d want Roger and Bagheera to meet. Kip definitely has his own distinct personality—he presented himself to me almost fully formed, as I mentioned above, after all—but while I had many inspirations for my cat, this panther was a defining influence on him. Roger and Kip share a tremendous bond—a bond initiated before the events in Deadmarsh Fey take place and solidified as the story progresses—and Roger having a chance to get acquainted with a character I consider to be Kip’s literary older brother would be a visceral reinforcement of what the boy already knows, that even though Kip is, as Roger thinks at one point, a “compact little animal,” the cat, like Bagheera, has a panther’s heart, strong and fierce and fearless, and would never back down from defending those he loves when they are threatened, be it by a Jagged One or Shere Khan, it matters not. And here’s something that didn’t occur to me until this very moment…Mowgli and Roger are the same age, and, though endearing, are each quite a handful—not to mention that there are forces at work that would love nothing more than to see both boys dead—so if Kip went along to this meeting, ye gods would he and Bagheera have loads to commiserate about!
- What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
My current project is the sequel to Deadmarsh Fey—set seven years later—and the second novel in Dwellers of Darkness, Children of Light. Several times in Deadmarsh Fey, I mentioned the Vickers family, particularly Isobel, the youngest daughter, who is Roger’s contemporary and good friend. Near the end of the novel, Isobel’s and her family’s link to the Deadmarshes, and the beings hunting them, is hinted at, and, to a certain extent, revealed to Roger in a shocking way. What he discovers leads directly into book two, Isobel’s story, which takes place on a desolate rock called Cutwater Island. Here there be sharks, and demons of the deep. And a creature whose memory is as fathomless as its desire for revenge.
Once the sequel to Deadmarsh Fey has been completed, I will be working on the next two novels in Dwellers of Darkness, Children of Light. All the books already have titles, but these are rather sensitive, so I’m holding them in reserve till I announce the publication of each novel.
- Have you ever been really freaked out by something on the internet? If so, what?
Oh, good heavens, YES! And fairly recently, too! I blame my beloved. It was entirely his fault! Imagine me pointing an accusatory finger at him right now. To be fair, though, I went along enthusiastically when he suggested we watch scary videos on YouTube. It’s nice to shiver with the one you love, which was the motivation behind this temporary derangement of ours. We started out quite innocently enough with UFO videos, which were more strange and interesting than scary, and ridiculously tame compared to what came next…
After we’d reached marginal utility in the flying saucer department, this video suddenly—and very sinisterly, in hindsight—materialized on the suggested videos sidebar. It was called, “Top 10 Most Shocking and Unexplainable Happenings Ever to Be Caught on Camera!” or some other such bombastic, and impossible-to-resist, title. By that point, feeling a little disappointed that the UFO videos had failed to scar us for life, we were game for anything, and also kind of high on ourselves, I have to admit, for apparently having such nerves of steel. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that our attitude toward the supernatural in that moment could be boiled down to, “Us? Us? Get scared by that? HA!” and so we (stupidly) clicked on this new devilry, to use a turn of phrase coined by Boromir (And we all remember what happened to him…).
To say we made a mistake is the understatement of the millennium. This video, this Ring-esque horrorfest masquerading as CCTV footage, reduced us to quaking little puddling messes, what with its ghosts shrieking out of hotel rooms, its phantom orderlies flashing by in the ER, the spectral girl wearing a blood red dress appearing in the middle of an alley somewhere in Taiwan, a “possessed” woman—who let out primal shrieks every five seconds as if she were being internally roasted alive by a legion of devils—contorting and flailing about in a supermarket aisle; a brace of freaky, seven foot tall men without eyebrows, dressed all in black and bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Blues Brothers, wandering around lobbies…and the pièce de résistance of Fright Night 2018—a skin-shivering, blood-curdling, knee-knocking, absolutely TERRIFYING clip of a girl in an elevator in China, I believe—I have no intention of opening myself up to a second near hysterical fit for accuracy’s sake by rewatching this abominable video—that was so unsettling because she seemed to be gibbering at someone, frightened of someone, arguing with, hunted by, and having a very disturbing conversation with someone…only nobody was there! Gooseflesh is breaking out all over me as I type this! And then the narrator butts in and says, in a calm and totally detached voice, that this girl was discovered dead in a vat a few days later, her clothes neatly folded on the ground, and that this story was the inspiration for the film Dark Water, which, needless to say, my beloved and I have no intention of ever watching. Sleep being elusive for one interminable evening was quite enough, thanks very much. Give us June Carter and Johnny Cash songs, Monty Python sketches, and political videos for our YouTube dates any night of the week. We’ve learned our lesson, and how! *shudders*
- If I came to your house and looked in your attic/closet/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
If you looked in my attic, you’d be stunned by the overwhelming plethora of pumpkins and scarecrows and Christmas decorations that are stuffed in there. If you looked in my closet, you’d see a lot of clothes and dresses that I keep forgetting I own. I mean this; over the last few months, I’ve discovered not one, but two rather fetching dresses that I had no memory of ever buying. The tags were even still on them! If you looked in my basement, I’d be really surprised, because I don’t have one…that I know of! What’s it like? Are there Morlocks living down there? Tell me, Jean! I’m sensing the beginnings of a new novel, here…
- Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
A seven foot tall E.T. dressed as the Grim Reaper, emerging from my bathroom in the dead of night with murderous intent, scythe in hand. I was about five years old when I had this dream, and E.T. and I didn’t make peace until fairly recently. Now I’m quite fond of the freakish yet adorable little tree stump, but our relationship was a bit strained for several years, to say the least.
- Which incident in your life has totally changed the way you think today?
Meeting my beloved has not only changed the way I think about everything—my past, my present, my future, my joys and sorrows, setbacks and triumphs—but has irrevocably changed my life, as well. Loving him, and receiving his love in return, has made me a fuller person—complete—and has led to me knowing myself better than I ever did before. I find it astonishing how in tune we are. Here’s just one of many examples I can share…we have the same crazy and unbelievably random (And I mean RANDOM! I’m thinking of one in particular right now that knocked us both flat by proving just what a couple of complete born-to-be-together weirdoes we truly are) thoughts, and blurt them out at the exact same moment! I have lost count of how often this has happened, but it’s pretty much a daily occurrence, and has been for quite some time.
Being in tune in so many ways has been a hallmark of our relationship since our earliest days. Our very first conversation had sparks shooting off between us when we both revealed a mutual love for the Eddas, everything Germanic and Saga-inspired…and I confessed to him my obsession with JAWS and sharks in general—and he didn’t flinch! He’s exposed me to so many wonderful things, some of my favorites being music—he has fantastic taste—and philosophers, the one impacting me the most to date being Henry Corbin, whose ideas matched up so perfectly with concepts I had been mulling over for thirteen years but never had a name for till my beloved shared this luminous thinker with me. Our oneness of spirit has grown deeper with each passing hour as we’ve shared our lives with each other—all the important things and the silliest ones, too, and been there for each other in the best and worst of times—and we’ve continuously discovered, more and more every day, how beautifully and miraculously our souls, and thoughts, chime in harmony. And it’s uncanny how he knows exactly what articles to send me, because no matter what they’re about (from the sagas to politics, and everything in between), I devour them and find myself forever exclaiming, “Yes! Yes, that’s what I was thinking! This is what I have always believed!” and tapping into a wellspring of inspiration that has long lain dormant, till he shares with me something he knew I’d love, knew would be the spark needed to kindle my thoughts and ignite them into being. This happened just last week, and because of what I read in the essay my beloved sent me, because the thoughts of the writer echoed in my soul and literally roused the Bear hibernating there, a story arc which I’d been struggling with for over a year found resolution, came full circle, and changed the course of one of the books in Dwellers of Darkness, Children of Light entirely.
Another thing I find absolutely wondrous is how he’s opened my mind to so many things I was very closed off to before, very biased against, in fact, and made me view the world, especially history, differently. Yet he’s also reinforced beliefs I already held, making them stronger and richer and more defined in my heart and soul. He encourages me and I him to become the people he and I were put on this earth to be, which I think is a rare and beautiful aspect of our relationship, and something we are blessed to share. And even in areas where our beliefs diverge—religion, for example, which has never been an issue for us—we still have commonality, because we both have an appreciation and respect for the Divine, and see it at work in our lives. We enrich each other—never tearing down, always building up, for we realize how precious a gift love is, and are very grateful to have found one another at long last. We’re passionate advocates of each other’s writing, too. His background is philosophy, and I am not being biased when I say he’s brilliant, and not just in this field, but in many other areas, as well. Just don’t get him going on Richard III or he’ll recite the entire Shakespearean tragedy from the beginning! My little playful ribbing aside, every time we speak, each moment we’re together, I am continually inspired in every way, and I cannot even begin to tell you how having his unconditional support and love across all areas of my life has changed it, and me, so profoundly.
I’m amazed anew every day by all of this—amazed anew each day by him—and am incredibly, eternally, grateful to have him in my life, to have been blessed with such a glorious soulmate, whom I love with all my heart. He truly is the greatest gift God could have ever given to me.