Last May, I was at a loss. I had finished Inside Out and wasn’t sure what to write next. A friend, Hope, suggested a follow up to In Search of a Story. She’s a newspaper editor and that’s what she loves. She and I were talking it over during a drive from Carlisle to Ligonier, near Pittsburgh. At one point we turned on the radio and a few minutes later the news began, opening with a story about the fighting in Syria. At that moment Hope told me, ” You should do that.” I didn’t think it would work and was close to shooting it down when parts of the story came into focus. I was in shock. Until that moment I had never thought of it. Then I couldn’t get it out of my head. I still had another story to finish, but this one took root deep and would not let go. A love story that would span months, distance, cultures, separation, and even war.
I finished my story a week later and started this one and finished the entire novel in a little more than two weeks. The story poured out of me. I was caught up in Carter and Nemat’s struggle first to get to know one another and be sure of what the other was feeling and then how to bring them together, Writing this story took me on an emotional roller coaster. I have allowed a few people to read it other than the folks at DSP. One of them is an immigration lawyer who worked in refugee affairs at the UN. He loved the story and to my amazement, said I got most of the details right. So I sincerely hope you will fall in love with Carter and Nemat the way I did.
Oh and as a special treat, you will see the boys from In Search of a Story as well as meet their son Adam.
Carter Hopkins is on a mission. He has already written about the conflict in Syria, but is determined to go even deeper. With his editor’s help, he joins a band of freedom fighters led by Jalal. But it is Jalal’s brother, Nemat, who draws Carter’s attention. Nemat has left the family olive grove to join his brother in fighting the Syrian government in Aleppo. When Carter saves his life and is declared an honorary member of the family, Nemat couldn’t be happier, even though he knows his family will never understand his true interest in Carter.
Carter and Nemat say their goodbyes after the end of the assignment. Carter’s stories garner a lot of attention, but he can’t stop thinking of the man he left behind. Then rumors of the use of chemical weapons give Carter another chance at a story, and he jumps at it. But much has changed in Syria, and any chance of getting Nemat out of harm’s way seems more impossible than ever.
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