When writing a book, our stories are technically works of fiction, our characters are not real people, although sometimes we wish they were. But underlying the creative process of developing characters, creating a story arc, and stirring up just the right amount of conflict, there is an element of truth. My brand leans toward subjects that are not at the top of the favorite topics of conversation. I like to tackle the hard stuff people experience in our reality. Life is hard and we get kicked around a bit along the way. So I think it’s important to talk about those topics and shed light on the issues out there that need our attention. We all deal with things like divorce, illness, abandonment, grief, abuse, and crime in some form or fashion. Let’s talk about it.

Last Days of Autumn follows two of my favorite characters. They are easy to get to know, easy to love, and so darn cute. Unfortunately they are facing one of the worst things we all know too well, cancer. But illness is not a barrier to love. Illness is not a barrier to hopes and dreams. Often we find our true selves in the struggle, we learn we are stronger than we thought, and love is so much sweeter than we ever imagined. All those things are true for Autumn Landers and Caroline Cross. They have a lot to get through to find that happily ever after, but it is all the sweeter when they do.

Truth. The truth is I wrote Last Days of Autumn for my friends Kim Bailey and Kim Massengale. Both having the same first name, I call them Bailey and Kim. Ten plus years ago Bailey was diagnosed with colon cancer. Throughout her battle, I was humbled by her calm perseverance and her fierce determination. Throughout that journey her partner Kim Massengale stood by her side, she was her defender, her cheerleader, her nurse, and her constant source of go-get-em. And here we are over ten years later, far past the estimated survival, and they are still going strong. Bailey is quite possibly the sweetest and kindest person I have ever met. I remember questioning the fairness of her having cancer, I remember being afraid of every test, and I remember the joy each time her results come back clear. Most of all I remember the love and commitment these two wonderful women showed each other. I have stood by their side at their wedding, I have stood by their side as they lost loved ones, and I hope to stand by their side for many many more years of their happily ever after.

Although the characters in Last Days of Autumn are of my own creation and their story truly is fiction, the details are true to Bailey and Kim’s experience. So it is no surprise that I love this story, it mirrors the truth of those I love. It faces cancer head on and in the end kicks some cancer ass. It is a story of hope and triumph. It is a story about love. Yes, it is about cancer, but it is about so much more. I hope it touches your heart. I hope it inspires you to fight through whatever struggle life has thrown at you. I hope it encourages you to reach out to others, let them care for you, let them be with you. You are loved and you are not alone.