Today, I’m pumped to have Susan Miura on the blog. I met her through the group of authors who are being published by Vinspire Publishing! Susan Miura’s newest young adult book has just released, and I’m excited to have her on the blog today to hear about it.
About Susan Miura:
Susan loves nature, traveling an photography, and works as an author, travel presenter, public relations professional, and photographer. A native of the Chicago suburbs, Susan graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in journalism and a determination to become a reporter. From a newsroom in Berwyn, Illinois to a television station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, her dream became a reality. Back in her home state, she now works in public relations for a library and is a member of Willow Creek Community Church, vice president of the ACFW-Chicago Chapter, and a member of SCBWI. Susan is happily married to a police sergeant and is the mom of a daughter, son, stepdaughter, and one incredibly adorable Cleo cat.
Warmth. Peace. A misty blue haze. Heat that radiates from her heart and flows through her body, down her arms, and into her palms.
It happens every time.
Shilo Giannelli possesses an amazing God-given gift. But in the face of danger and heartbreaking loss, she struggles with the immensity of being a Healer.
Guest Post: Use Your Gifts by Susan Miura
The following guest post was written by author Susan Miura, whose new young adult novel, HEALER, was just released in January by Vinspire Publishing. Susan is a public relations professional living in Schaumburg, IL (Chicago area), as well as a member of the ACFW and SCBWI.
I live in a melting pot community and family, both of which add vibrancy, a variety of perspectives and richness of personalities, opinions and beliefs that color my world like a breathtaking aurora. I guess it’s no surprise, then, that the characters in my books and short stories come in all shapes, colors, and ethnic origins. This is by no means the focus of anything I write, just an inherent characteristic which, I hope, makes my stories realistically mirror the world in which we live.
In Healer, that ethnic diversity is reflected in Cedarcrest, the hometown of 17-year-old Shilo Giannelli who has lead a fairly normal life. She loves hanging out with her friends, playing guitar and soccer, and spending time with her cute Japanese boyfriend, Kenji, and half-Nigerian best friend, Melody. Her biggest challenges, before the main conflict is revealed, are her emotions over her hospitalized aunt and the realization that she and Melody are drifting apart. The reader will soon discover, however, that hovering just below the surface of Shilo’s average existence lays an amazing spiritual power. Late one night, her world erupts with the revelation that, like her great-grandmother, she has The Gift. But the power to heal isn’t something she can share with the soccer team, her genius little sister, or Kenji.
Definitely not Kenji.
Enter Misty Morning, the 19-year-old single mom who is living with her abusive boyfriend when her world collides with Shilo’s. Alternating chapters are told from Misty’s point of view. Deep beneath Misty’s tough façade is a lifetime of abandonment, foster homes and broken dreams. At fifteen, she ran away from a group home and into the arms of Jake. By the time she discovered he was violent, Misty was pregnant with Tyler. When Jake’s temper lands Tyler in the hospital, Misty’s fragile world shatters.
When Shilo prays for Tyler, the miracle that follows leaves doctors speechless and Misty deliriously happy…and profoundly confused. Something happened during that prayer. Warmth and peace. A presence she couldn’t explain. And Tyler…is fine. Healed. But it isn’t long before Shilo’s life begins to unravel. Her romance is strained, Misty’s life is in danger, and her parents don’t want her using The Gift. But she will fulfill her destiny as a healer, no matter the cost.
Even if it costs her Kenji.
It will take a miracle for these unlikely friends to elude a gang bent on revenge, keep The Gift a secret, trust God in extraordinary circumstances, and hold on to the people they love.
In Book 2, alternating chapters will be told from best-friend Melody’s perspective, as Melody searches for the Nigerian biological mother who left her on a convent doorstep when she was three days old. Shilo’s chapters will begin in Sicily, where she has gone to learn more about The Gift from the only other person known to possess it: Nonna Marie, her great grandmother. Images of Sicily’s breathtaking mountains, valleys, beaches and vineyards will be woven throughout the first half of the novel, as Shilo meets her Italian relatives and discovers the wonders, and even a dark secret, of The Gift.
I’ve been asked several times what the “take-away” is of this story, and I hope that for teens and adults alike, it will be this: Trust in God, even when you journey down dark or rocky paths, because you don’t know where they lead…but He does. And since He loves you immensely, He’ll land you exactly where you need to be. Take-away #2: Use your own gifts, no matter how young or old you are, how uncomfortable it may initially feel, or whether you’re helping one person or a whole village. We don’t have to be Shilo Giannelli. Everyone has gifts, skills, talents, or passions they can use to make this world a little better, and a little brighter.