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Intersection Column | A Bright Future Awaits

by Amanda Cabot

One of the most obvious influences for me as a novelist came from my early childhood (ages 1½ to 7) when I lived in a small town in Texas. I’ve never forgotten either the beauty of the state in this series or the warmth of small-town life, which is why the majority of my books are set in small towns in Texas.

I also drew on my experiences as the oldest of four children when I developed the concept for The Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing, because I’ve always been fascinated by the relationships among siblings and the role that birth order plays in their personalities and actions. It’s been so much fun to tell the three Vaughn girls’ stories!

A young widow returns to her hometown, never dreaming that the new schoolteacher holds the key to both her heart and the mystery surrounding her father’s death.

A brighter future awaits—if she can escape the shadows of the past.

Emily Leland sheds no tears when her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, but what awaits her back home in Sweetwater Crossing is far from the welcome and comfort she expected. First she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances. Then the house where the handsome new schoolteacher, Craig Ferguson, and his son are supposed to board burns, leaving them homeless. When Emily proposes turning the family home into a boardinghouse, her sister is so incensed that she leaves town.

Alone and broke, her family name sullied by controversy, Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father’s death—and to aid Craig, despite her fears of men. The widowed schoolmaster proves to be a devoted father, an innovative teacher and an unexpected ally.

The inspiration for After the Shadows came when I was having breakfast with a friend. As calmly as if she were discussing the scrambled eggs on her plate, Paula said, “My first marriage was the biggest mistake of my life. That’s why I kept saying ‘no’ when Douglas proposed.”

To say I was shocked is an understatement. Although I’d known both Paula and Douglas for several years, I had no idea Paula had been married before, much less that it was an unhappy marriage. She didn’t offer details, and I didn’t probe, but I left the restaurant wondering why she had never mentioned her first marriage. As I drove home, I kept envisioning scenarios, and by the time I pulled into the garage, I had the background for Emily, the heroine of After the Shadows.

Before I begin each book, I choose a Bible verse that has special meaning for me in the context of the story I’m about to write. Later, I include that verse when I autograph copies of the book. The verse for After the Shadows is Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (KJV). Emily’s heart is definitely broken when she returns to Sweetwater Crossing, but as He promised, the Lord heals her.

Many of my books deal with the healing power of love, and After the Shadows is no exception. I hope readers will be entertained by Emily and Craig’s story, because after all, the primary purpose of fiction is to entertain. But I also hope readers will be encouraged by the way love heals my characters—and their wounds.

I love hearing from readers and invite them to visit my website, I call it my one-stop-shopping site, because it includes information about my books, links to my social media accounts, the sign-up link for my monthly newsletter, contact information and resources for writers.


About the Author

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of several historical and contemporary romance series, including Mesquite Springs, Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams and Westward Winds. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at


About the Book

Emily Leland sheds no tears when her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, but what awaits her back home is far from the comfort she expected. First she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances. Then the house where the new schoolteacher and his son are supposed to board burns. Alone and broke, Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father's death—and to aid the widowed schoolmaster, despite her fears of men.


Did You Know?

The human circulatory system reaches around 66,000 miles when stretched out. That is over 2.5 times the circumference of the planet Earth. Other facts about the circulatory system:

  • The red blood cells from one person, if stacked up to the sky, would reach 31,000 miles.

  • Each of those red blood cells contains 270 million hemoglobin molecules.

  • The heart beats 2.5 billion times during the life of a 75-year-old person.

Solomon writes that God “has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT). It is amazing to consider what is within us, simply looking at the circulatory system, an abundant and wonderful creation. That organic system is unseen by the naked eye, by the way. As phenomenal as those facts are, there are limits.

In the same way, humanity was created in the image of God, an unseen value intrinsic to every person. Once we come to follow Christ, however, we get even more. We are born of God, begotten from our Heavenly Father. Born again unto eternal life without end.

We may not see this with our eyes, but we can know it by faith in God. Each of us is an immense, eternal treasure in temporary bodies. Let us treat ourselves and each other according to that eternal worth.

-Britt Mooney, We Were Reborn for This: The Jesus Model for Living Heaven on Earth


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“I walk into a bookstore like a kid entering a toy store. I love exploring my favorite genres in search of a new friend or my next adventure.”

-Debbie W. Wilson, Little Faith, Big God


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