As I began to write, I wasn’t sure what I would write about. I didn’t have the story mapped out in my mind ahead of time. I remember writing the first paragraph of “Take Me to the Willow”, and then the pieces started to fall into place. When I considered attempting to undertake a book that included themes of racial bigotry and child abuse, I shrank at the task and felt very inadequate. But I pressed on because it felt important, even if the book would never be seen by other people, it felt important for me to somehow portray the contrast between good and evil in its extreme forms. It felt important to voice the things that resonated within me. The story, “Take Me to the Willow”, is not meant to be some profound effort in delineating the topic of slavery in this country, rather a desire to convey the reality of life and to tell an honest story about the ugliness and evil in some juxtaposed with the beauty and goodness in others. This story is about loss. It’s also about the depth of true love and how each of these things affects the other.