• Sarah Kennedy posted a status
    Allow me to introduce myself and tell you a little bit of my own story. Why do I write? I believe that moments of pain can be redeemed, that in the right hands they can be turned into opportunities for something greater. In some ways, my story is ripped from today’s headlines. Many of you, I am certain, have heard and read about the United States’ Opioid Crisis. Some of you, like me, have even been touched by the far-reaching effects of addiction. Before the headlines, before there was a medicine to rapidly block the effects of opioids, before the crisis was publically acknowledged; back in the near past when families suffered in silence, when so many, who seek to help now did nothing, when so many knew and turned a blind eye to those in distress, my family experienced those headlines first hand. My name is Sarah Kennedy. I was born into an amazing family. I am the fourth of five children; at the same time I am the middle of three children, and the youngest and the only living of three. Tricky, huh? My brother and sister by blood died in infancy. I never got to know them here on earth, but I did get to know another brother and sister. My siblings may not share my blood but blood alone does not make a family. My parents wanted a child so badly when they found out they were expecting. They were so happy, but right away they came to the painful realization that there was another plan for their family. My oldest brother, Oliver Jr. died before he was ever old enough to be born. They never got to see him. But unknown to them at that time, another little boy, in another home was just about to be born. Soon my parents were expecting again. My older sister, Elizabeth was born too early, she was very, very small. She lived long enough for my parents to see her and mom held her once and then she too was gone. Now, that other little boy had been born and his birth mother didn’t think she could support him, so she arranged to put him up for adoption right after he was born. He went into foster care and stayed there until he was a nine months old (?). About that time, my parents realized that there was a higher plan for their family and that if adopting a child was part of it they would be willing to do that. They began the process and soon after all the paperwork was done and they had been cleared for adoption, they were told about this little boy in foster care. No one thought he was thriving there because he wasn’t trying to walk or talk or even play. Anyway, my parents were asked if they would like to meet him and they said, “Yes!” Mom and Dad met my brother for the first time at the Social Services office, and though he cried most of the time they were there, they fell in love with him. They knew he was meant to be part of their family and in a few weeks, they were allowed to take him home. They named him Isaac. He came to them with only a little toy animal, about three changes of clothes and a pair of tennis shoes that were two sizes too small. After two more weeks, when Social Services came to visit they were amazed by how much he had changed. Isaac was now jabbering away, playing and scooting around, crawling and pulling himself up to stand. She asked if they wanted to keep in foster care, and they said “not for foster care, but forever!” Isaac was officially adopted in July of the next year when he was just a little over 1 ½ years old, and already I was on the way. I arrived just before my brother’s first full year as a Kennedy had ended. Years later, Charlene, would also join our family. But this is really a story of two siblings. For years it was just Isaac and I and our parents. Those years are some of the happiest memories of my life. Isaac and I being so close in age spent a lot of time together and our parents invested in our lives every day even when they were at their busiest. My mom was a full time teacher but she would be always make time to read to us. In the summertime, we would take on even bigger stories—whole novels even: Peter Pan; Island of the Blue Dolphins; Treasure Island and The Chronicles of Narnia, to name just a few. Those are some very special memories and helped develop our love of the written word. Isaac and I were very close and for a time nearly inseparable; we even had complimentary artistic talents. He was an amazing artist and poet. I started writing at the age of four. I still have my first “book” with its now faded and torn, red construction paper cover and yellow yarn binding. I didn’t know it in the beginning, but writing would be my lifeline in years to come as the brother I knew and loved began to slip away. The opioid crisis had begun. My family never saw it coming. Me least of all. I won’t mince words. Isaac was a heroin addict, living in a little insignificant town that we came to learn was the drug capitol of Pennsylvania. My family was swept into that downward spiral of darkness, desperation, fear, pain, and silence. By the time I was sixteen I was suicidal. Writing was a gift to me, a treasure of darkness. It became my sanity, my escape, my survival. I didn’t know then that what started in desperation would grow into something amazing. I had always thought that writing was just for me. By the time I graduated from high school, I planned on being an elementary school teacher. I stopped writing and went to college. About a year and a half later, in a creative writing class that was part of my major, I started writing again and couldn’t stop. Writing became my full focus to the point I knew that a choice had to be made. I began to embrace the belief that I was born to write and so another step in my journey as an author began. It wasn’t easy but I knew I was on the right path. In the meantime, Isaac had fathered a beautiful little boy; he had become an electrician and was holding down a good job. He had left our little town and was about 7 months clean. There was no warning, nothing could have prepared us for the news we received that fateful morning in 2007. Isaac was dead. He died in the arms of his three year old son, from a reaction to the fentanyl laced into the heroin. How does a family go on from this? How do you come to terms with such a loss? Hope. Trust that moments of pain can truly be redeemed, that in the right hands they can be turned into opportunities for something greater… I can look back now and say with all honesty that nothing has touched my life, nothing has touched my family that was not meant ultimately for our good. But in that moment, when the hurt was so great that there was nothing left, again writing became the balm to festering wounds. Again, I received its treasure from darkness. Characters created years before as a means of survival were old friends to help me through the journey of healing. It was not an easy journey but out of it came the beginning of a story that would become the Prophecy of Hope Saga, featuring those old friends and new. In 2011, the series debuted with the release of my first novel, Sgarrwrath, Prequel to the Prophecy of Hope. Sgarrwrath was the result of that on-going healing process and I have often said that without Isaac, without this painful history, Sgarrwrath, would never have found his voice. Our story, the story of siblings who were very close and then torn apart, by the troubles I have shared here, is really how this series began. I was a published author. My favorite part of becoming a published author was actually holding my books in hand. The very smell of the book was just the epitome of indescribable dreams. It was more than just seeing my name on a book cover; more than just the thrill of, “I did it,” because I know I didn’t do it. Not alone, anyway. None of this would have been possible without so many others who encouraged, supported, and even drove me to just need to survive, and all that pushed forward with me toward completion, even before I ever embraced the dream of being an author! Since then Sgarrwrath has won three honorable mentions: in the fantasy category of the Halloween Book Festival 2013; in the science fiction category of the New England Book Festival 2013; and in the Genre based fiction category of the London Book Festival 2013-January 2014. In August of 2014, Arising, Prophecy of Hope Book1 was released. It has since won 2nd place in the fantasy category of the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards December 2017. Soon the series will continue with the release of my next novel, Mhorag, Prophecy of Hope Book 2. The writing of Mhorag has been a journey all its own, but that is a story for another time. Ultimately however, these stories surpass their link to me. My one hope is that through my stories readers will come to realize there is hope. There is always hope no matter how dark life may become.

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