I always smile when I think of the origin of UNSPOKEN. First, you have to understand that I’ve always been fascinated by Koko, the REAL gorilla who speaks sign language and lives in California. (Learn all about her by visiting http://www.koko.org/index.php).

I had seen several PBS specials on Koko and felt that there was *something* there–something that would make a good novel, but what? After all, Koko isn’t fiction, she’s real.

Fast forward a year or so. I was studying theology for my master’s degree, and learning about general revelation versus special revelation. General revelation–the truths God reveals about himself through the created universe–clearly speaks of a Creator. Job wrote:

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you.
Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.
Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you.
Let the fish of the sea speak to you.
They all know that the Lord has done this.
For the life of every living thing is in his hand,
and the breath of all humanity.”

Job 12:7-10

“Special” revelation is given to us in the Scriptures, and it is only through special revelation that we can learn about Christ and his provision for our sins.

Job was speaking metaphorically, but as I began to ponder general revelation and read about animals (who have souls, by the way, because the same Hebrew word used to refer to man’s soul is also applied to animals), I read that all of creation will one day be redeemed. Man was created to be the steward of the animals, we were to have dominion over them, but when man fell, the animals fell, too–not in the same way, but they were subjected to the curse of the planet just as we were. So they wait for the redemption of Earth just as we do.

I became interested in studying man and animals and how they interact as opposed to how we were intended to interact. I suspect that all animals (or most) could speak in the garden of Eden–after all, Eve wasn’t surprised when the serpent spoke to her, and Balaam’s donkey had no trouble speaking to him. As I began to put forth my ideas to some friends, I was amazed to find that some of them didn’t even believe that animals could experience emotion–and that floored me. I don’t know how anyone can live with a dog and not know that dogs have DEEP emotions.

Anyway–one night my hubby and I were watching TV in bed. I turned to him and said, “I have this idea for a book about a gorilla who can talk–and since the Bible says that even the animals know about God, if an animal could talk, what would she tell us about Him?”

Dear, sweet hubby looked at me and said, “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

Which, of course, made me all the more determined to write the story.

And so “Sema” was born.

Tomorrow: the reserach.



  1. ~ Brandilyn Collins

    Oh, haha. Gotta love those hubbies.

    Glad you didn’t listen to him. I loved this book. Got all teary-eyed at the end. 🙂

  2. Dana

    Oh gosh. Now that makes me REALLY want to read the book. That’s so funny that your husband’s response made you want to write the book even more. Ha ha…

  3. Pam Meyers

    Oh Angie, I love what you said about animals having souls. I’ve never heard that and I’ve studied the Bible for years. I put down one of my cats last year and I just couldn’t beleive he was literally gone. He was like a wise soul in a cat body.
    As for emotions. If a person says that animals have no feelings then they need to meet my cat, Chessie. She literally gets so angry at me when she demands attention at a very given moment and I cannot stoop what I’m doing to give her a scratch on her back. Her eyes burn with anger, she complains, her tone of voice changes and she stomps off to the bedroom and her “pillow throne” in disgust. But what is so amazing is she never remembers that she’s angry at me. When I can give her attention she is as loving as can be.

    I look forward to catching a moment to discuss our animals when we meet at CCWC. I’m in the 301 Nangie class 🙂

  4. BJ

    I’m convinced that those folks who don’t believe animals have souls have never lived with a dog or cat.

    And how poor they are for it.

    Loved the book.


  5. Christy Lockstein

    I loved this book; it made me rethink so many things. When I was a little girl, I had two baby ducks that I cherished until they died. I found hope in knowing that they were in heaven until my aunt informed me that no animals went to heaven because they didn’t have souls. It broke my heart and changed my little girl version of heaven from a place filled with beautiful fields, forests and animals to a stark white place with clouds and no fun at all.


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