"I stood on the porch, trying not to look at the police cruisers parked in the driveway. And when I did look at them, I tried not to let the memories come. But that was like trying to stop water with your hands. Enough of it got through that you were going to get wet."
The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.
Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.
Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…
To the reader:
Much of Whisper was inspired by details from my real life: my childhood and the recent loss of my baby, Tyler. For this reason, Whisper will forever be extra personal for me. I almost didn't publish it because of the sensitive approach to grief it contains, as well as so much of myself. I feared it might be too overwhelming for some YA fans. Too serious.
I think transparency is important with Whisper. I am hoping by exposing this part of myself to you, as the reader, it will leave a lasting mark and maybe even help those in need of comfort from their own grief.
To that end, I want you to know that I welcome email and conversation. I love all of the notes I receive from readers offering either encouragement or a kind word after reading what I went through with the loss of my son. I've also received letters telling me how someone else was encouraged by my willingness to share my experience. Some mothers have also lost a child, while some watch their child battle an illness or condition that makes it hard to look forward to the following day. Those readers deserve not just encouragement but a place to share their struggle. I'm hoping this is that place.
That being said, I don't plan on letting my blog become a helpline. So if you haven't experienced such a loss, no worries. I will not allow the "Heather" domain to become depressing to visit. I simply want everyone to feel free to express their response to the book and anything else posted here. Unfortunately, unlike my stories, this is real life. And real life doesn't always come tied in a neat little bow, replete with happy ending. That's what books are for. And readers.
So, to my readers, thank you. I sincerely hope you enjoy this one.
And for a look into what's fact or fiction, here's a quick list of links that inspired the Cherokee background for Whisper:
Empedocles, on Nature
Smudge Sticks and Smoke Baths
A prayer to Great Spirit Grandfather
Why the Mole Lives Underground (the original inspiration for Whisper)
“How would you know I was there?”
His gaze locked on mine and I stilled, barely able to breathe. All trace of laughter disappeared from his expression. His stare was heavy to the point of paralyzing.
“My soul would recognize you and wake me.” His voice was gravelly and low, barely above a whisper, but it filled my ears and raced straight to my heart. I felt a keen familiarity with this moment and with Dylan himself. It was more than déjà vu. It was something inside me recognizing something inside him.
I told myself it was nothing; fancy fabric couldn’t manifest a destiny any more than a person could fight it. But, although the sun still blazed with late afternoon heat, the day felt ominous. Or maybe it was me.
Grab your Dylan button! Feel free to copy and paste to your blog!