Tsunami

By Holly Michael

Landing in South India, ten days after the 2004 tsunami, my husband said to our contact there, “Send us to the worst affected area, where no agency or person has yet provided help.”

Already weary from nearly thirty hours of travel, I mentally geared up for mission work. My husband, a pastor and native of Tamil Nadu, South India hadtsunami lived and worked in the affected region for more than twenty years and was aware of the living conditions of the fisher folks in the remote seaside villages. He was certain we’d find decimation and desperation.

Back home in Arkansas, we had raised a large sum of money during a week-long, major fund-raising event. As a freelancer for a Guideposts magazine, I planned to cover the story of a teenage survivor. My husband’s predictions rang true and I had no idea how difficult, yet fulfilling, this experience would be.

Ten years later, we are now preparing to head to South India for a follow-up visit. I plan to write a “then and now” book and release it on the anniversary of the tsunami: December 26th, 2014.

Ten years ago, we provided immediate assistance for the villages and people also helped many tsunami orphans. We arranged for the village headman to bring the children to the local bank where we identified them and put funds in CD’s to be collected ten years later (2014). This would give them money to begin their lives as adults. We also provided help to other small villages by purchasing boats for them.

I’m excited to return and see how the children—now adults—are doing and discover their future plans. I’m also curious to see how the once decimated villages have recovered.

On the ten-year anniversary, December 26th, 2014, I’ll publish, “Tsunami 2004: Then and Now. Devastation from the Sea. Help from Beyond. (Working Title).

It’s said that you should write what you know. This is true. Traveling to India several times since 2004, I have enjoyed and absorbed the cultural experiences and have since used them in my writing.

This past July, I released Crooked Lines, my debut novel, inspired by stories told by my husband and his friends who left their villages in India as teenagers to join a religious order. Crooked Lines threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. They struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth. I’m so pleased that Crooked Lines had reached #1 in Inspirational Fiction Category on Amazon.com.

Here’s my back cover blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

Without giving a spoiler, some scenes from the novel were taken from my own experiences in South India after the tsunami. I’m also working on my sequel to Crooked Lines that I hope to release in February.

Maybe your travels won’t take you to far-away places, but we all travel along many emotional pathways and carry unique experiences in our hearts. As writers we should go back to the places of decimation, see how far we’ve come, and use this in our writing to help others. No matter what our background or culture—like in Crooked Lines—we all share similar emotional experiences. Matters of the heart are universal and worth writing about.

book

TWO CONTINENTS. TWO  CULTURES. TWO SOULS
  …SEEK HOPE & A FUTURE

On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over
her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers.
Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be  weighed…and buried memories, unearthed. Crooked Lines, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and
deceptions in search of truth.

hollyHolly Michael
Website: http://www.hollymichael.com/
Blog: www.writingstraight.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHollyMichael
Twitter:@hollymichael

link: https://twitter.com/HollyMichael
www.HollyMichael.com
Debut Novel, Crooked Lines, now released! http://amzn.to/1jZsrLH.
 

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About Naty Matos

Great desire to worship God through the gift of writing and share a message of inspiration to all around me.

Posted on October 22, 2014, in Writing Happenings. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. What a wonderful idea, the CDs. So long as there are people in the world like you who want to help where help is needed most, and who will think of all the best ways to help, there will be inspiration for those like me who hope to do so, too.

  2. Thanks Ann, and thanks Naty!

  3. Reblogged this on Holly Michael's Writing Straight and commented:
    Tsunami, ten years later…

  4. I really enjoyed reading this and I definitely will want to read the book you will be writing. I hope there will be lots of good reports after your visits to the villages. God Bless you as you go.

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