Debut Novel Soon to be Published by Elk Lake Publishing
Set in Iowa—America’s Heartland—during the final decade of the twentieth century, Rise on Eagle’s Wings intertwines contemporary voices with those of a pre-internet generation. A bookish girl with a wry sense of humor, Talitha Joy Dahlen’s curiosity sometimes leads to trouble, but she’s durable. Orphaned at thirteen and mother of two at sixteen—her hero, Buddy isn’t an outright villain—but he seems more concerned with acquiring wealth than nurturing his family.
Talitha voices, without rancor, the childhood losses and lessons that have made her strong—the isolation that led her to marriage at fifteen to a man twice her age. Determined to build a life of love and integrity for their sons, Talitha flees from Buddy to keep them safe, becoming a homeless and desperate teen mother on the run.
Miss Ella, a blind woman from war-torn Liberia—extends Talitha an invitation that could lead to safe haven and a fulfilling life—if Buddy doesn't find them first.
Rise on Eagle’s Wings is the hopeful story of a young mother’s tenacity, the ever-changing definition of family, and the redemptive power of community to reach out with helping hands and gracious hearts.
--Eagle illustration by Jen Hem, Ames, IA
Nuggets of Truth In Fiction
When I met “Talitha” in a campground she was seventeen, already the mother of two, and separated from her husband. She worked in the rustic little store, selling groceries and renting out campsites. Her name wasn’t really Talitha, but she was indeed a seventeen-year-old American mother. Her strength, tenacity, and love for her children astounded me. She claimed a forever place in my heart. Over the years, during times when I’ve especially struggled, the courage of this young lady came to mind and cheered me on. Eventually, the strong spiritual core of who she was became the main character of my debut novel. I hope and pray that the heart of who Talitha is will encourage you also.
Another woman entered my life for a brief time and deeply touched my heart. She was a praying woman, a refugee of the Liberian civil war that ravished her country from 1989-2003. “Miss Ella,” as she is named in the novel, had witnessed her husband and daughter killed in front of her when rebels attacked their village. Like Talitha, the details of her life are fiction, but the golden nugget of who Miss Ella was—her grief united with her transforming faith—is genuine.
Talitha and Miss Ella—at heart two very real people—linked arms, and became the underlying spiritual essence of Rise on Eagle’s Wings.
— Lois Kennis, Writing to Stir Hearts
I dedicate Rise on Eagle’s Wings to all the struggling young mothers of this world who bravely strive to make a better life for their children, and to the Miss Ella’s of this world who reach out to others with the helping hands and the gracious hearts of Jesus.