As I edited my 9th book, Haunt of Jackals, two unique events converged in December of 2008.
One was a lifelong dream.
The other was a nightmare.
To my surprise, my 8th book, Fireproof, hit the NY Times bestseller list and stayed there for the next three or four months. This was a dream come true. What writer doesn't hope to be called a bestselling author?
During the same period, though, my mom suffered a heart attack while at a friend's home in Germany. She was put into an induced coma to keep her alive. I flew over from the States. She came out of the coma. But after I had spent many sleepless nights in the hospital with her, she passed away on December 15. She was only 59 years old.
I was crushed. The thought of living the next 30 or 40 years without my mom seemed unthinkable!
I am forever grateful she got to hear about my bestseller success, considering all the years she encouraged and challenged me in the process. I will miss her till the day I die and am able to join her on the other side. Her absence made the newfound success seem empty and vain. It certainly put things in perspective.
Thanks to royalty checks, I was able to take my wife, two daughters, and mother-in-law on a two-week trip to Holland, Israel, and Jordan. We scattered my mom's ashes at Masada, Petra, and Jerusalem, honoring her life and her love for the Jewish messiah, the Nazarene.
Yes, I finished my edits on Haunt of Jackals, despite an emotional fog. Released in 2009, it is still one of my favorite books, a story of a mother and a son on the run, a fast-paced tale mixed with sorrow and wonder.