What resulted in the creation of Camp Emmaus? Well… in part it was pity, I suppose. Pity for Nate Harrison, of “Miles” fame. He obviously had a story behind him, he was a genuinely nice guy, and he needed his own book and a happy beginning, as Lizzie would say. And so, as I finished “Miles” and worked on “House of Shadows” my thoughts continued to turn in that direction.
The desire to write a book that accurately portrays life as a type 1 diabetic also spurred me on. Having been one for all but six years of my life, I know the ins and outs and I’ve yet to read a book that doesn’t get it wrong. Diabetic Alert Dogs also fall under the category of “write what you know,” and they’re a subject near and dear because of my own service dog. Lizzie’s experiences with diabetes mirror my own.
Memories of church camp at Skyridge Christian Youth Camp in the Sacramento Mountains created the setting for the story. Skyridge did not have a lake, but in many other ways it and Emmaus are the same. Skyridge was destroyed in a forest fire a number of years ago, which still grieves so many of us who called it home in the summer as we were growing up. Immortalizing it in a novel felt right.
I knew Nate from “Miles.” But what about the heroine of the story? I expected her to be bubbly, cheerful, and to have led a life fairly free of trials–other than the type 1 diabetes, which can be a real pain in the neck, that is. When Lizzie Samuels got her name and I began to write I was surprised to see how wrong I was about that. I was wrong about the whole plot. Other than character names and locations “Camp Emmaus” is an entirely different book than what I started out intending to write. It is sooo much better.
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