Penelope Manikos

Originally, when writing The Crystal Crux, I didn’t give much thought to many characters that would have influenced my main characters during their life.  It’s amazing how easy it can be to forget these people when crafting a story.

Penelope Manikos was a new character for me.  I had always planned to have Anthea’s mother be dead when her story starts but I never put much thought into when this happened or how it happened – or how it influenced Anthea.

As the story grew, I realized I could use Anthea’s relationshiop with her mother be a profound part of the person she is now, one of prayer and doubts.  It is never easy facing the death of a loved, especially a parent.

As most authors do, I worked some of myself into this situation.  I felt the hopeless I imbued Anthea with when I lost my brother, Mike.  I never prayed on a rosary, but I prayed a lot when he was nearing the end, suffering the final effects of Muscular Dystrophy.  I didn’t understand why the Lord was not answering, why the suffering was allowed to continue.

I eventually had Anthea pray and tell the Lord, command the Lord to make a decision about her mother.  Whether people believe it or not, that is what happened with me and my brother Mike.  I was tired of watching him suffer and asked the Lord to do one or the other – either heal him or take him.

It was at that very moment, the Lord took him.  I was alone with him in his hospital room, praying in a window.  Mike suddenly got lucid, called me.  I came to him.  His eyes were somewhere else but he said, “Ready, set, run.”  And he was gone.

I eventually wrote an article about my experience at my brother’s bedside that evening and won the Jade Ring from the Wisconsin Regional Writer’s Association.  It was my first experience with writing anything seriously for others to read.  It was a pretty positive experience to win such a prize on my first attempt.

Anyway, I decided to give this experience to Anthea and help her faith grow the way mine did.  It’s not that you stop believing.  It’s more of a humility that realizes there are forces beyond life we cannot control.  I’m a very day-by-day person now.  I embrace now because the one thing being with my brothers taught me was, tomorrow is not promised to anyone.  We have today.  There is nothing to fear if we really accept that.  Selah.

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