When I have a release to promote, the number one request I receive from bloggers is to share what true event, if any, inspired the book. Last month I shared that after a bout of bronchitis/sinus infection (which didn’t leave and got worse!) the praise was I revised the first novella I wrote after becoming a Christian.
Match Made in Heaven is that novella, and it releases April 19. Although fiction, there are definitely some true experiences that I used in the book.
First, here’s what Match Made in Heaven is about:
Beth Prescott wants to make a difference with the senior citizens she serves as their volunteer coordinator, but the matchmaking efforts leave her guarded. She’s experienced too much pain to make that leap again.
Dean Kellerman returns to the Finger Lakes area to help his grandfather and heal his own broken heart. He’s recommitted his life to Christ, and doesn’t want any distractions.
When his grandfather needs assistance with a senior program, it places Dean right in Beth’s path. Can these two surrender their pasts to Christ and have faith in each other and their future?
When I wrote this, I was single and a new Christian. I was definitely creating Dean with what I thought a Godly man would look like after walking away from the faith he grew up with. He was pure fiction because I had no point of reference. Beth was a different story.
Like Beth, I worked at a senior center and placed them into not-for-profit volunteer assignments. I didn’t have grandparents growing up, so I was suddenly given probably 200 by the time I left the position. Once they heard I was single, the games began. There was always the talk of “You should meet my son/grandson/nephew/neighbor,” but there were a few bold enough to take those boys and drag them to me.
In one instance, one young man sat in the corner of my dark office waiting for me. He was a new to the area thanks to a job with the Salvation Army and drove the bus. One of the volunteers I cared for was assigned to the Salvation Army and got to know this driver. She was a tough lady and next thing the driver knew, he was in my office waiting for me. What my volunteer didn’t tell him I was probably four years older than him. He had such a baby face. He didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want him there. But, he was new in town, so I offered to share places where young people would like to go. I was pretty sure the senior center wasn’t the place for him.
The other instance that I didn’t use in the book but remember well was a colleague who worked in the adjacent office. She was a senior citizen who did not like that I was single. She had a boyfriend and felt I should as well. They had been out to dinner one night and met the chef. They thought he was perfect for me. Oh, how I hated the idea. They would NOT give up. So, off to a fancy restaurant in Watkins Glen I went. The picture you see in this post is very similar to the view I had that evening in Watkins Glen. Once I met my husband, we actually sailed there.
I knew immediately this chef was not my heavenly match. I saw the mischief in his eyes and as he talked, I knew party was a big part of his lifestyle, and I no longer lived that way. I thanked my friends for thinking of me and figured they would never bother me again—that meal cost them $60 as I recall.
There are so many things I love about God’s ways, and right up there was the way He matched my husband and me together. Once we met, the seniors were very protective of me. They asked his name, and Arduini is a known name in my hometown. Tom’s dad was a beloved musician, the “Dean Martin” of our city. They immediately embraced our relationship and all the matchmaking ceased.
I’d love for you to get to know Dean and Beth better. Here’s a little excerpt.
The automatic main entrance doors squealed as Beth Prescott failed to make a discreet arrival. With a groan, she searched for her office door key and click-clacked past the Hammondsport Senior Complex front desk.
Activities Director Wendy Bass chuckled as Beth scurried by. “Did you hit the snooze button too many times?”
Beth kept her stride. “I mixed up AM and PM.”
Wendy shook her head and held up a folder. “I found these near the copier. I think they belong to you.”
Beth stopped and turned. Sure enough, her handwriting was on the front. Intake papers she needed for her outreach appointment. The first of many throughout her day. “What would I do without you? You’ve rescued me so many times since I started this job.”
Wendy reached across the front desk and passed the folder off. “No worries. I had a lot of help when I began here. It’s a lot to learn.”
Beth balanced the folder as she maneuvered her purse and steadied the office key in her right hand. Her venti mocha still hadn’t kicked in with the energy level she needed to leave on time for Katy McGlen’s home visit. Although the senior citizen was as sweet as the caramel Beth added to her morning drink, Beth hated being behind schedule.
She turned the corner and found her colleague, Ray Jenkins, at their shared office door, his key already in the lock, twisting it to the unlocked position. “How’s the weather out there, Beth?”
Beth tossed her office lanyard back in her purse. “Humid. My last visit is at the Grapevine Nursing Home outside of town. I probably should’ve scheduled that earlier. The circulation in that place isn’t the best.”
Ray nudged the door open and gestured her inside. “No, you were right. You always want to make the nursing home visits the last of the day.”
Beth took a tentative step before turning toward Ray. “Why?”
He sighed, etches of his seventy years tightened across his face. “Those visits are the hardest. The residents don’t have a lot of visitors and they get lonely. Or, dementia has them believing you’re their daughter or granddaughter and they want you to stay.”
The information zoomed from her brain to what felt like a heavy brick that sank to the bottom of her stomach. “Thanks for the heads up. I definitely want those meetings at the end of the day so I can process it at home.”
The older man shuffled toward his desk, about to turn on the lights. “By the way, you have a visitor. He’s waiting in the billiard room.”
Beth bit her lip, certain she hadn’t scheduled anyone. “Do you know who?”
Ray’s crystal blue eyes twinkled. “Another grandson.”
Do you have any matchmaking stories?