Brandilyn Collins is the author of Over the Edge and of 23 other books, including her latest release on March 1, Gone to Ground.
Brandilyn, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help. Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?
In 2002 I became very ill. I literally went from being a healthy, five-miles-a-day runner to falling down on my kitchen floor and not being able to get up. My legs had suddenly gone weak. Eventually in 2003 I learned I had Lyme disease. The disease crippled me and made me unable to perform the normal duties of being a wife and mom. My husband had to cook all the meals and take care of the home on top of his already demanding job. I couldn’t do much for my kids. My daughter, 13 at the time, thought she was losing me. It was a time of great fright and facing the unknown in our family.
During that time I learned how to truly praise God through difficult circumstances. He taught me how to use the psalms for both praise and supplication. I prayed them aloud every day, sometimes praising with tears running down my face. I learned that praising God is an act of will, not emotion. When I eventually lost the ability to read because of Lyme, I listened to the psalms on tape and praised that way.
In May of 2003 God granted me a miraculous healing from Lyme. It’s an amazing story that’s available to read on my website. Today, many people around the world have read about this event.
It is this experience with Lyme disease, and with facing the general medical community’s tendency to dismiss the disease and its diagnosis and treatment, that led me to write my novel Over the Edge. The book features the first person story of a woman infected with Lyme. And woven into the story are the background issues of the battle between Lyme sufferers and the medical community. I have received wonderful praise for this book, both from reviewers and from readers who have Lyme or wanted to know more about Lyme. Some who have been sick for years, undiagnosed, realized they should be tested for Lyme after reading Over the Edge. Now they’re finally getting treatment. Imagine receiving a note that says, “Thank you for helping to save my life.” Other people have given the book to family and friends, who now can understand what they’re going through. All in all I see how much the book has helped people. Even those who simply pick it up to read a fast, tense suspense walk away knowing more about Lyme disease. And I was able to weave into the story my own journey in learning how to praise God through it. This is also what my main character, Jannie, learns.
So, yes, Lyme disease was a terrible, formidable opponent. But I wouldn’t want to give up what God taught me through it. Then God gave me a chance to use to the experience, through writing Over the Edge, to help others.
What is your favorite bible verse and why?
My life verse God gave me—Psalm 138:8: “God will accomplish what concerns me.” (NASB) Or as the NIV translates it, “God will accomplish his purpose for me.” If I can believe that—really walk in it—that about covers it. Easier said than done.
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?
Numerous of my books are available in audio format as well as large print. Over the Edge is already out in large print. Because I have so many novels, it’s hard to list every one that’s available here. The best way to see is to click my name on Amazon and see all the variations of my books that come up.
What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
First and foremost, I want my readers to enjoy my novels for the suspense experience. My trademark brand, Seatbelt Suspense®, carries a four-point brand promise: fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. Although ultimately I hope the reader will latch onto the faith message woven into the story, I don’t sit down to write a “Christian suspense” or to write a story with a certain Christian message. Most of the time I have no idea what the Christian message will be until I’m some distance into writing the story. The faith element must arise naturally from what the protagonist is facing, and her own experiences, background and built-in fears. Readers pick up my novels because they love suspense. So I must deliver that experience to them. If they like the suspenseful story, if they can empathize with my main character, then they’ll finish the book. And within that reading they will see the faith message. (Which they can ultimately accept or reject.) But if I don’t deliver on the suspense, readers will put down the book at page 30 or so. Then what good is my message? It’ll never be read.
The natural faith element in my novels allows me to have both Christian and non Christian readers. With Over the Edge I’ve had a lot of readers who aren’t necessarily Christian, because this novel has been so talked about among Lyme sufferers. People who’ve never read my books are picking up Over the Edge and recommending it to others. They want to read a great suspense about Lyme. From all indications via reviews, I am delivering that. But they also are reading the faith message. And in the back of the book I have a lengthy author’s note, which includes information about my own experience with Lyme and a link to my Lyme page and healing story on my web site. Now many people who may have never found that recounting of my healing are reading it.
God works in all kinds of unexpected ways.
As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I did do a lot of research on Lyme for Over the Edge, even though I had a good basis of knowledge to begin with. The stories are so heart-wrenching. Such as people who are crippled today who could be well if they’d just been diagnosed and treated. Instead doctors refused to test for Lyme, or assured them “We don’t have Lyme disease in this state.” Other sufferers are diagnosed but can’t find a doctor who’ll treat them. And many doctors who have treated Lyme long term are sanctioned and scared out of treating through the threat of losing their medical licenses. It’s a really sad situation all around. Bad enough to be so sick, but to have to fight the medical community as well is heart-breaking.
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
In the author’s note at the back of Over the Edge is a fairly lengthy explanation of Lyme disease and its challenges in treatment/diagnosis. I link to the Lyme page on my web site, which has further helpful links in understanding the disease, finding a Lyme doctor, etc.
Thank you, Brandilyn, for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!
Brandilyn's books are available through CBD, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other bookstores.
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