The Dragons of Alsace Farm
In need of his own redemption, Noah Carter finally confronts his childhood hero, the once-beloved uncle who betrayed him. Instead of vengeance, he offers forgiveness, also granting Uncle John a most curious request—for Noah to work on the ramshackle farm of Agnes Deveraux Keller, a French WWII survivor with dementia.
2017 RONE Award-Winner for Inspirational Fiction.
The initial storyline for The Dragons of Alsace Farm revolved around a WWII survivor with a secret in her attic., but the story evolved into something much more personal when my mother was diagnosed with dementia. Her struggle to accept and adapt to her changing world, and our family's experience as we circled the wagons around her, eventually inspired changes to the book, and completely shaped the character of Agnes.
I quickly discovered that many of our friends were silently facing similar changes in their own loved ones. Talks with them, with professional caregivers, physicians, and therapists helped me create a composite for the beloved Agnes, who is quickly becoming the most beloved of all my characters. Families in the dementia nexus can relate to and understand her and her world.
Another development in Mom's world inspired the characters of Noah and Tayte. Soon after Mom's diagnosis, a disabled couple moved in with her. They believed they were helping her. She believed she was helping them. They all were correct. It was magical too see how they rose and rallied to serve one another.
I wanted Noah and Tayte to play similar roles with and for Agnes. To create two complex characters that were accurate in their past experiences, needs, and fears, I turned to two friends/therapists, who helped me get these pivotal characters just right.
The reviews of the book have been beautiful, and most satisfying is the way readers have embraced these complicated, lovable, characters.
Agnes's "dragon" is dementia, but we all have our own dragons, our secrets and fears, that trap us in their clutches at times. My hope is that readers can find something valuable to strengthen their own families within the pages of the book. And for those struggling with this dragon of dementia, I hope Agnes's story will help you remember to make moments that matter.