An Unexpected Healing
By G.G. Vandagriff

As many of my readers know, approximately a year ago, I was dramatically healed from a twenty-five-year-long depression. I am a writer. In 1993, I published my first book, Voices In Your Blood: Discovering Identity Through Family History (Andrews and McMeel). In the immediate years that followed, I published two LDS mystery titles: Cankered Roots and Of Deadly Descent (Deseret Book).

Then, if any of you can remember that far back, the books stopped coming. I wrote sporadically for Meridian at the always kind and encouraging request of Maurine Proctor. But, the truth is, my writing brain was dying. I was far too sick to do anything but try to stay alive.

Electro-Convulsive Therapy seemed to be the final nail in my creative coffin. I lost much of my memory permanently and all that remained of my ability to write. Privately, I grieved about that a lot. But I had lost so much else, that it was just one of the many things that had gone with my memory.

A Tender Mercy

When I was healed last summer by the combined efforts of new medication and a clearer understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ, one of the very first things that happened was that while standing in the temple celestial room where I worked, I had a vague memory of having begun a sequel to my mysteries about twelve years ago.

When I went home, I asked my truly brilliant husband to please try to find it for me in the bowels of our computer. We had moved twice, and I had no idea if it would still be there, or if it even existed. He found two very old files called Alex3 and Alex4. Since Alex was my heroine, I knew we were getting warm.

Without thinking, I hit the print button for the first file. Soon I was adding reams of paper to the printer, wondering what in the world was happening. By the time it finished printing, I was holding a stack of paper about five inches deep. I began to read and was astonished to find that I held in my hands a complete novel I didn’t even remember writing, along with the first three chapters of its sequel! As I continued reading, I not only did not recall anything about the plot, but I didn’t even know “whodunit.”

The very next day, I contacted my former editor at Deseret Book, Suzanne Brady, who had remained a good friend. She did some checking and found that they would be very interested in the sequel. In fact, they wanted it as soon as possible. I told her that it needed a lot of work and that I really wasn’t sure I could do it, but that I would give it a try.

Slowly, over the next weeks and months, my writing brain was resurrected. There is no other word for it. I had tried writing during those black years and it had been impossible. Fiction is very, very difficult. It represents, alternately riding a bucking bronco until it’s broken or braiding a wily octopus. And that’s not even taking into account things like characterization, figures of speech, and pets. Yes, pets. I created three absolutely adorable pets and left them stranded in a mansion in the middle of the winter. I didn’t remember them until the day the manuscript was due to be sent to Deseret, when I hastily went through and randomly added them to every scene where they needed to be.

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

Not only was my writing resurrected – which was miracle enough – but it was also added upon. The doctrine of the atonement was so much a part of my life that I couldn’t not write about it.

Alex had always had a lot of angst and been a severely conflicted character where personal relationships were concerned. That was because I had a lot of walls inside of me. I had angst. I was severely conflicted. So how could she be anything else?

But during my healing I had learned the amazing power of the atonement to help us forgive. Alex had some forgiving she needed to do, too. When I forgave, walls that had been in place all my remembered life collapsed and exposed my heart. The same thing happened to Alex. I was sure glad. I was really getting tired of writing about all that angst.

Only one problem remains, gentle readers. Who will Alex marry – the dashing, captivating Englishman, Charles, or the insightful, dependable, ever-patient Daniel? You’ll have to wait for the sequel to find that out. After you’ve read Tangled Roots, why don’t you cast your vote by e-mailing me via my website –

P.S. This isn’t just a girl book. It has deer rifles in it.