Have you heard of author Aleta Kay, yet? If not, I’d love to introduce you to her, and her novel, Mending Fences. Mending Fences is a novel of love and hope lost, despair, defeat, frustration, giving up, and hope regained. This is a novel for anyone struggling with issues of faith, death, broken relationships, or searching for a God who understands.
Mending Fences is purely fiction, based on a recurring nightmare of an old friend, now deceased. His dream was of a Viet Nam veteran being surrounded in an open field by several different kinds of broken down fencing. He was unable to get out. My friend often woke up in a cold sweat.
The main character here is a Viet Nam veteran who, once he got out of the army, never wanted to fight again—about anything. Robert McGinn becomes a pastor who really loves his family and God, but he’s a workaholic and never seems to be home when his family needs him. He has a wife and two children. When the last crisis hits (at the beginning of the book) he is, as usual, not at home. In fact, he’s in another state. Once the crisis has been dealt with, his wife and son decide they no longer want or need him. Robert moves from Christmasville, TN (chosen for its name) to an unknown area of Oregon. Seventeen years later he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness. What will he do now? Does he have enough time left to mend those broken fences (relationships) in his life? If he does, will anyone care?
What are readers saying about Mending Fences?
“Unlike many fictional stories that are meant to be inspirational, but actually do little but preach, or blame, this one actually shows Christianity in action, and shows it the way Christ taught it. Here, you have a good, well-told story about people who find a way to live as Christians and forgive each other.”
“I was encouraged as I read this book. It was about a family with a lot of problems that were caused by a lot of unintentional hurt. It takes years to resolve, and it is a long road to forgiveness for all involved. I think many families can associate with the plot of this story, and can hopefully find that the Lord is truly our help in times of trouble.”
Two hours later Robert was riding down the highway in the cab of a semi. The driver introduced himself by his CB handle, High Roller. “Everybody calls me ‘Hi’, he said.
“Pleased to meet you,” Robert said and shook the man’s hand. “I’m Robert. Are you a gambler then?”
“Nah. I’m an independent driver, meanin’ I don’t drive for one company all the time. I hire out to the highest bidder. If I don’t like the price, and can’t get the money I want, I don’t drive. Most outfits pay pretty decent, though. This kind of bargaining keeps me from being taken advantage of by the stingy money mongers of the business.”
The radio was tuned to a country station, which Hi kept pretty loud so he could hear it over the noise of the truck and surrounding traffic. When Robert came aboard the station was giving a news report so Hi had turned it down. When the news was over the volume went back up and the men were silent.
Hi glanced at his passenger and wondered about him. He didn’t appear to be poor. The man wasn’t unkempt. What had reduced him to hitch-hiking? Where was he going? Why?
Glancing again at his new acquaintance, Hi was curious as to what would put such a woebegone frown on such a kind face. The light dusting of freckles across the narrow nose and round cheeks made Hi think of a perpetual little boy. But little boys surely didn’t have enough problems to etch such deep furrows in the forehead. He felt a trace of sympathy and promised himself he would buy the man a meal. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but this man seemed different somehow from anyone he’d ever met.
The next tune was a sad song about a trucker losing his family because he spent too much time on the road to be a good dad or husband. The only decorations the trucker had in the cab were pictures of his family.
Suddenly Hi pounded the steering wheel with his fist twice and turned the radio off, shouting expletives. Robert noticed the pictures this driver had taped up. It was a nice-looking family.
“I can’t help being gone so much,” Hi yelled. “It’s the only thing I know how to do, the only thing I’m good at. I provide a good living for my family. My absence is the price we all pay.”
Robert listened and knew from his pastoral experience that Hi was really justifying what he did because he liked it and was comfortable with his vocation. Hi knew it, too. Yet, Robert understood the frustration. You do your best for your family and it’s still never enough. They weren’t so different, he and Hi. Both had to be gone a lot. It was tough. “I know how you feel, man,” he said to Hi.
“What do you mean, you know how I feel? How could you possibly know?” He looked like he wanted to hit something.
Robert told him about his own life as a former pastor. “So you see, no one appreciates it. God doesn’t care enough to keep your family together. I believed everything I said when I was a preacher, but when it was my turn to need all that grace and forgiveness, all I got was kicked out of my fammily’s lives, and stabbed in the back by the church people who were supposed to care.”
High Roller turned the radio back on, looked at the family picture of his three children, and looked forward to being with them over the weekend.
Robert woke up about an hour later and was surprised to see a tear sliding down the truck driver’s weathered cheek. The song on the radio was another sad country tune. Is there any such thing as a happy country song? Instead of voicing the thought, he asked Hi if he was alright.
“Yeah, sure. Just worried about my kids. My oldest son, Tanner, is fifteen. He thinks he knows everything. Thinks all adults are stupid He has a problem with authority, but he’s a smart kid. He really could do something with his life if he’d buckle down, do his school work. Instead, he’s too busy rebelling against everything. I don’t know what to do about it.
“Then there’s my daughter, Colleen. She’s pretty, intelligent, vivacious. She’s twelve going on twenty. She’s very mature for her age, physically. She’s also very athletic and she has discovered that boys like her. She’s so vulnerable at her age, and me and her mom, we want to protect her, but she just wants to fit in, you know. All of her friends have boyfriends. How do you teach your kids about this world when they don’t want to listen?”
Learn more about Aleta Kay:
My full name is Aleta Kay Dye. I am ecstatically married to my husband of forty-four years (forty-five later this year) with two children and six grandchildren. As of Christmas 2015 they all live in the same area. I’m very protective of them and won’t give their location. All of our grandchildren are still minors. They range in age from eighteen down to five. Only one is a boy, but he’s the most lovable kid you could ever want to meet. He has absolutely no enemies at age twelve.
God is a very important part of our lives. I love church, the fellowship, the music, the activities, the joy and peace I feel when I’m around my brothers and sisters in Christ. Good preaching and Bible study are a must for me. If I skip them very much my attitude gets really crappy.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school reading Nancy Drew novels. I wrote parts of my own mysteries even as a child. I had my first poem published when I was a senior in high school in Cycloflame magazine. I don’t think it’s around any more. I got paid a dollar.
What am I passionate about? God, family, and nature. I’m a small-town girl. Big city traffic scares me useless so I avoid that as much as possible. If we have to go through a big city, I let my husband do the driving. I’m a big chicken. I do enjoy driving, just not in heavy traffic.
One of my favorite places in this country is Quartzsite, Arizona, population about 3500 (full-time residents). It’s a desert town that gets over 100,000 RV’ers and campers during the winter season. There are several RV parks, but the majority of people stay out on the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) areas. We paid $180.00 in December which allows us to stay on any BLM land in the country. The permit is good for a year. We dry camp so we have to dump our waste water at the designated areas, and fill up our water tank from the well which is provided by the Department of the Interior. Our RV is the only home we have and we love it. We’ve been living this way since autumn of 1997. It isn’t a lifestyle for everyone, but we love it.
Why do I write?
Because I want people who read my books to know that no matter what lemons life dishes out, God has the answer, and wants to help. But He will never force Himself. If we invite Him to be in control of our lives, He has all the answers and will make a way for us to get through whatever it is.
My favorite animal is horses although I’ve never owned any. I was around them a lot when I was little but didn’t have much opportunity to ride. My first experience on horseback was on a pony chained to a pole with other ponies as they walked in a circle. My second experience was riding bareback at a gallop. I fell off but didn’t get hurt much. When I was in high school I had an uncle that would take me to the horse races with him during the summer months. I get upset if I have to miss the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes). I was watching the year Secretariat won all three races, the last one by, I believe, 31 lengths. I’d have to watch the movie again to be sure of the distance. It was phenomenal. No horse has ever beat that record.
I also love cats, deer, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, bear cubs, and dogs as long as they belong to other people.
Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, John Grisham, Iris Johansen, Jan Karon, Joel Rosenberg, and Oliver North. I have, in the past year discovered Nicholas Rossi, Christoph Fischer, P.S. Bartlett, and Ronovan Hester, who are also very good authors. Viv Drewa wrote a really cute fantasy about a gryphon. I also like some of Aaron Paul Lazar’s books.
I just finished reading the first book in a series by Dr. Ernie Moore titled, The One Time Messengers. It’s a story of political intrigue revolving around Al Qaeda. Next on the list to read is Amber Wake by P.S. Bartlett and Ronovan Hester. It’s part of a pirate series.
My parents wouldn’t let me go to a writing school or take classes because “writers don’t make any money.” They wanted me to have a good paying job. I never had the confidence to go to college so I went to secretarial school. That didn’t turn out too well, either. So I didn’t get published until later in life. I’m sixty-four now. It’s time to get busy and make up for wasted years. I have purchased many books on writing and marketing and was mentored by a good friend who had workshops at her home. She also owns an online self-publishing business.
I have several works in progress. When I get stuck on one I work on another one. I hope to have another book ready for publication by the end of summer or early autumn.
*Be sure to drop by Amazon & check out Mending Fences!*