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Friday, April 10, 2009

Bio Background - My Testimony and Story Behind "The Witch on the Bayou"


Let me take you way back now to the beginning of my life. I will be honest, because the "truth will make us free." It has not always been an easy journey for me. I came to the Lord Jesus Christ when I was 19, mainly because I needed Him to heal me--mostly from a very low self esteem. Although I came from a good family, I didn't know God personally--especially how much He loves me (and all of us). I also battled with an unknown condition for years (still do), which I later realized was Restless Legs Syndrome. (When I heard the name of this condition - RLS - I knew immediately that was what I had). God has very slowly been healing me over the years. When people haven't seen me for maybe even a few days--they've sometimes told me how much better ("more confident," they sometimes say). But I know that it's because of God's mighty healing!

I was only 12 years-old. I had to stay inside the house after school and babysit my baby (twin) brothers, since both my parents were working fulltime. (My father was a technical writer and my mother worked as a nurse in the evening shift). I was growing up in the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana to a strict, but loving Catholic family of twelve children. (My aunt was a nun. And the home I grew up in was an ex-convent). Babysitting included cooking supper for Dad, and sometimes it was discouraging and lonely. I hardly saw Mom at all during that time. My classmates (and neighbors) would come by, knocking at our livingroom door--requesting to borrow our basketball for play at the nearby (school) playground. I'd hand them ball, noting their expressions of guilt and pity, knowing they would be free playing outside (with our ball), while I was confined inside to babysit my baby brothers.

To pass the time, I played music--a lot of music. And I would also write. In fact, I'd care for my brothers often by rocking them on the livingroom rocking chair, as my imagination would run away with me. I would soothly sing them a lullaby--one which eventually became a haunting lullaby, entitled, "Poor Li'l Baby." And I would remotely wonder about how a good mother might feel about children as they'd grow up--and go out into the world. I would think about her protective love in a world of evil. Slowly, I began to weave a story. It was about a young, sheltered girl living way, far away in the deep, deep south--in the Louisiana bayous. I knew intuitively that she was a Cajun girl who spoke broken French. Her auntie was loving and Creole--black-skinned. The little girl's name would eventually become Stephanie Anne Jones. (I later changed her name to Stephanie Anne Josephine LeBeque). She was barefoot and felt abandoned, because her family and home (which consisted of a shack) had been destroyed in a hurricane fire.

But one of her close family members had survived that day. But he was only five days old. Her love for him was strong. In fact, Stephanie's love for her baby brother became almost obsessive, especially as he became older. Her love for her brother was almost like a mother's love--only more protective. As he grows older, she seems him becoming more and more rebellious, which terrifies her. She especially panics as she witnesses him becoming swayed--by an evil force, an evil power. That evil power slowly becomes a witch---a witch who lives on the bayou.
When I first began penning my action-thriller, I called it "The Witch on the Bayou." Tragically, it became misplaced and eventually was destroyed, although, truthfully, it only started as a few pages in length along with sketches of my characters. During this time also, I composed three songs directly related to "Witch on the Bayou." One song was the afore-mentioned "Poor Li'l Baby." I also composed a romantic ballad entitled, "Song of the Bayou." (I later added, "Chanson du Bayou" to the title). And my last song I wrote then was "Love is Not Defied." (I didn't even really know what the word "defied" meant. Guess I just thought it sounded good).
Years later, after a month in bed recovering from a pinched nerve and years of doing many different jobs and searching for my path in life, I finally, with the encouragement of my parents and my husband, penned The Rise and Fall of the Witch on the Bayou (Publish America, Inc., 2001).

The three earlier-mentioned songs that I composed were somewhat "shelved" in my mind for years, as I couldn't really believe that I had written them myself. (I thought, perhaps, I must have heard them somewhere and subconsciously "composed" them). Upon my father's encouragement to write my own songs--he noticed I was writing names of famous songs in my manuscripts--I began composing more songs. I realized to my delight, that I had, like authoring books, a talent for songwriting, as well.

It's been years since those lonely days in my livingroom rocking my baby brothers to sleep. Since then, I had the privilege of finally travelling to the state of Louisiana, where my debut book was set and appeared in book signings and on TV morning shows in major cities there. It was surreal but fulfilling to setting foot into a place that was before that time, just a dream--but turned out to be everything that I had imagined. I also was blessed with twins of my own (along with my husband) after years of praying.

But For a long time before that remarkable experience, I didn't understand some things in my life and I was confused. But I held on then-- as I hold on now--to the Scripture that says, "All things work together for good, to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose," (Romans 8:28). God had a plan. And once again, He's demonstrated that "Nothing is Impossible" if only you believe!

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