Welcome to Love Thy Neighbour, where something that has affected us or we feel deserves a bigger mention is shouted about. As writers, Outrageous Girls like to pay it forward, to help other authors out on the quiet, and genuinely get emotional when someone else gets a good deal or progresses in their careers.
My Love Thy Neighbour today is about author Saranna DeWylde/Sara Lunsford. I first “met” her through my job as Head of Art for Total-E-Bound. I’d created a cover for Saranna and after that she submitted it to a contest. It won! I found her Facebook posts interesting, funny, poignant, and she soon became someone I “stalked”, for want of a better word. I have certain people I look forward to “seeing” on Fb every night when I lounge on the sofa and scroll through my feed. She is one of them.
My first taste of her writing came with Sweet Hell on Fire, a book that absolutely stole two of my evenings—I couldn’t put it down. It was one of those books that rang many bells for me. I related to how she felt. She was brutally honest, and I admired her for having the balls to say it exactly how it was, especially her feelings and actions regarding her mother and her children. It isn’t easy to admit our shortcomings, but she did, and in a book that so many people would read too. She risked having those who knew her as Saranna hating her after her revelations, and I hold her in the highest regard for still going ahead and telling it how it was. She needed to—from reading that book I knew she had to purge.
It struck me so hard that I created a piece of art, but I had to wait for a while afterwards because creating it was emotional. Everything she had been through came back while I worked, and I’ll admit I cried.
So then I created a cover for Johnny Angel, read the book and bloody loved it. So of course I went to find some more and bought the books available so far in her Darkyrie series—all great, by the way. There are other books I have yet to buy, but rest assured, I will.
Then I read the news that prompted this post. The digital rights to Sweet Hell on Fire have been bought. My God, did I cry (called a soppy sod by Hubby) because my word, Saranna deserves this success. The book came flooding back, her fears, her needs, her honesty, bravery and downright humanness, and I knew right then and there that there is a higher power that rewards those who go through hell and fight to come out the other side a better person—herself, who she really was underneath all that time.
If you haven’t read Sweet Hell on Fire, I recommend that you do, because it gives you a feeling of awe that wow, this woman has laid it all bare and she is so brave to do so. I couldn’t get over that.
I’m proud of her. She’s a down to earth, lovely person. I wish her all the success in the world, and I can’t WAIT to see that book on TV or as a movie. I will watch it, knowing what happens, knowing that I’ll cry all over again, but the best thing about it is this raven, who had tattered wings, a hoarse cry, and was lost in a stormy sky, is now sleek, feathers shining, her voice strong, and now those skies are summer all the way.
Bless you, Sara/Saranna. Your tale will remain with me for the rest of my days. Go forth and live the life you were meant to, writing, happy, and at peace with your past and yourself.
As a corrections officer at an all-male maximum security prison, Sara Lunsford worked with the worst of the worst, from serial killers to white supremacists. She knew that at the end of every day, she had to try and shed the memories of the horrors she had witnessed in order to live a happy existence. But the darkness invaded every part of her life. And dealing with a stressful divorce and a mother sucumbing to cancer led her to a complete immersion in her work and eventually the bottom of a liquor bottle. Sweet Hell on Fire takes the reader on a journey with the author, from hitting rock bottom to becoming a woman who understands the meaning of sacrifice, the joy of redemption and the quiet haven to be found in hope.