The Masterpiece

By: Francine Rivers

ONE OF THE GREAT BLESSINGS of being a writer is the opportunity to interview people who are experienced in arenas I have not entered. I’ve had a great deal of help on the winding road of writing The Masterpiece. I want to thank the following people for the information and encouragement they gave me:

Gary LeDonne shared his knowledge of the juvenile court system and group home referrals.

Heather Aldridge of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office forensics department and Christopher Wirowek, deputy director of the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office, told me about policies and practices of departmental record keeping and finding identities of Jane and John Does.

Ulla Pomele gave me daily scheduling information for a group home program structure and activities.

Debbie Kaupp gave me an extensive list of the various duties of a personal assistant.

My brother, Everett King, told me about his experience with silent heart attacks, heart surgery, and the installation of a defibrillator implant.

Ex-cartel gang tagger and graffiti artist “Allude” shared some of his street adventures and misadventures in the Bay Area.

My friend Carolyn Dunn invited me to brainstorm my characters with a group of certified, professional family counselors. Thank you, Uriah Guilford, Candace Holly, Terri L. Haley, Laurel Marlink Quast, Gary Moline, and Rebecca Worsley for your insights into the realities of bonding issues in traumatized children and how they might play out in adulthood. Laurel Quast also gave me much-needed information on working with women in crisis pregnancy and child placement.

Ashley Huddleston and Tricia Goyer shared heart-wrenching insights into the psyche of traumatized children, as well as the struggles of foster and adoptive parents who love them and strive to help them heal.

Antanette Reed, Kern County assistant director of CPS, gave me essential information about the foster care system.

When I got lost in my story and couldn’t find my way around, I called story doctor Stan Williams. He asked the right questions to get me on track.

Holly Harder, my dear friend, has awesome navigational skills on the Internet. Whenever I got lost in cyberspace or couldn’t find details on any given subject, I sent out a distress call to Holly, and she found in minutes the exact information I needed.

A huge thank-you to my Coeur d’Alene brainstorming friends: Brandilyn Collins, Tamera Alexander, Robin Lee Hatcher, Karen Ball, Sharon Dunn, Gayle DeSalles, Tricia Goyer, Sunni Jeffers, Sandy Sheppard, and Janet Ulbright. All amazing women of God who pray, plot, and know how to play. Whenever I hit a wall, these remarkable women helped get me over or through it.

Colleen Phillips, kindred spirit and missionary in Chile, was in this project from the beginning. Thank you for “listening” to all the variations of Roman and Grace’s journey and for being the first one to read, comment, and make corrections on the manuscript—not once, but twice—before I dared submit it.

I also want to thank my brilliant agent, Danielle Egan-Miller, for her insights and long hours of work in managing my writing career. It’s a blessing to be able to leave all the complex details of business to someone I trust so that I can concentrate on writing.

Thank you also to Tyndale publisher Karen Watson, who always has the questions to get my creative juices flowing. I’m grateful to Cheryl Kerwin, Erin Smith, Shaina Turner, and Stephanie Broene, who handle the lion’s share of my Facebook author page. Robin Lee Hatcher manages my website, and my daughter, Shannon Coibion, posts my blogs and helps me with incoming mail.

Finally, I am indebted to my longtime editor, Kathy Olson, who understands my process and story. Without her expertise in cutting, restructuring, and slipping in scenes from previous drafts, this book would not be in your hands.

Blessings to each of you in your future ventures. You are all God’s masterpieces.

ROMAN VELASCO CLIMBED the fire escape and swung over the wall onto the flat roof. Crouching, he moved quickly. Another building abutted the five-story apartment house, the perfect location for graffiti. Right across the street was a bank building, and he’d already left a piece on the front door.

Shrugging off his backpack, he pulled out his supplies. He’d have to work fast. Los Angeles never slept. Even at three in the morning, cars sped along the boulevard.