And now, to answer your questions . . .

I remember that this book and the truth teller were both set in Charlottesville, VA. (I’m not sure if you changed that in the update versions of both books). i found it interesting b/c i’m from VA and my sister goes to UVA. what made you choose charlottesville for the setting? –Deborah

I did set The Truth Teller in Charlottesville, VA, but Gentle Touch/A Time to Mend has always been set in Winter Haven, FL. I used Charlottesville in TTT because I lived in Lynchburg, VA, for ten years and knew the surrounding areas pretty well. Lately, however, I’ve decided to place most of my books in Florida. Because I was born and raised here, I know this area and mindset even better.

My question is what did you learn while writing Gentle Touch/A Time to Mend? I am asking from a temporal and a spiritual pov. I find lessons in life are often both temporal and spiritual. –Betsy

While writing GT/ATTM, I became even more aware that our lives really are, as Scripture says, “as the morning dew, that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away.” In that sense, the lesson of this book is both temporal AND spiritual. In the grand stretch of eternity, our earthly lives are a sort of boot camp–we struggle and toil and God refines our characters through those struggles and toils and yes, even our failures. The things the world considers important–wealth, position, beauty–will vanish in the blink of an eye, and we will find that our characters are what remain.

We are all dying–physical death is the consequence of our mortality. Some of us will depart this earth suddenly, some of us will experience what Lara (in The Truth Teller) calls the “silver lining of cancer” –time to say goodbye and settle earthly affairs. And if we are chosen to die slowly, we are given an incredible opportunity to demonstrate something to the world : this is how a Christian departs a temporary place, a temporary condition, a temporary home.

My brother-in-law, Shane O’Hara, had a brother, Mike, who died at age 25 from bone cancer. I know Mike was in my mind when I wrote The Truth Teller. Some young men might have become bitter or angry at God because of the disease, but Mike sat in his recliner and told people about Jesus until he went into a coma and slipped away. He lived his life–and his death–with eternity solidly in mind.

This is what I have learned from A Time to Mend–that we will be given the grace to die boldly, successfully, and faithfully if we ask for it.

My English teacher, Janet Williams, required her students to memorize the last stanza of William Cullen Bryant’s poem, Thanatopsis. I can still recite (and type!) it today:

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves

To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night, scourged to his dungeon,
But sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust,

Approach thy grave like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him
And lies down to pleasant dreams.

Ah, Angie, you may be thinking, easy for you to say these things when you and your loved ones are healthy . . . and perhaps you’re right. But the heart can go with what the head knows, and I know the One in whom I have placed that “unfaltering trust.”



  1. Deborah

    my mistake, only Jonah was from Virginia in this book. thanks for the clarification and answering my question! i’ve been reading your books ever since the july 95 issue of brio where you did the summer book bonanza so i’m looking forward to reading these BOMs in the future and learning about all of them!

  2. Betsy

    Thank you for taking time to answer my question

  3. Accidental Poet

    “the heart can go with what the head knows” – in fact, I’ve found it effective to try to form a strong opinion about “What would I do if (insert crisis of your choice) happens?” so that when I am in the hurricane of emotions, I can think “oh wait, I had a plan”. Sometimes the plan is amended, but it’s nice to have a starting point.


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