What We Leave Behind – A story about struggle, a story of hope, and mostly, a story about love. A journey with a unique young girl who is so sure of what is out there waiting for her, that she never compromises her belief in finding it.
Jane Rawley Solomon’s humor, character, and passion for others, serve as a reminder that we choose our own path to happiness, regardless of the events that impact our lives.
Targeted Age Group:: 18-90
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
From the Inside Flap
I started writing this novel in 2009, after losing my remarkable dog, Rawley, to a bone tumor in a very emotional process. As the next year continued, my other canine companion of twelve years, Max, passed away from liver cancer. In that same period, a very dear coaching colleague – far too young to deal with her medical issues – passed away from cancer. Not to be a bearer of grief, as we all deal with these events in our lives, but from 2008-2012, I watched as my father battled pancreatic cancer, fighting with amazing resolve.
Amidst so much loss and pain, it was easy to write the sad parts of this book. The trick was keeping the hope, the love, the fight, and the joy – that they all managed to hold onto – represented in my heroine, Jane.
Despite numerous challenges, I knew I wanted to push through and finish this work when a former teammate from college lost her struggle with cancer earlier this winter. This book’s dedication is for those people who struggle with illness and pain, and yet never lose their optimism or their love for others. I hope I do them – and through them, all of you – justice.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters are a combination of people and events that have actually happened over the years. They are representatives of some of the best people I’ve ever come across in my life.
As the Solomons continued to wait in Mrs. LaCoe’s office, Jane brushed her hands down her dress and looked at herself in the mirror one last time. She took a deep breath and smiled to calm her nerves. The dress was less than half a year old, but it barely made it down to her knees, and unfortunately (because of an incident tripping on a rake in the yard, which Jane took no pleasure in recounting) had a huge green grass stain down the left side.
Despite its seeming shortcomings, on the three occasions Jane had put it on, she felt as if she was in a priceless gown, worn once upon a time by a Disney princess. With wild blue flowers and the remnant of a white lace belt, any time she wore that dress, her spirit lifted. Something big could happen when she had this dress on. It had been a while since something big had happened in her life.
As she made her way to the main office, Jane found herself skipping – the power of the dress and excitement willing her on, as if floating on a cloud and twirling round and round all at the same time.
Mrs. LaCoe must have heard the skipping, twirling, and general dress related merriment coming down the hallway because, without even a momentary pause for Jane to announce herself, she opened the main office door.
Two adults sat in the large leather chairs in Mrs. LaCoe’s office. As Jane glanced towards them, Mrs. LaCoe instructed her to come in. Jane entered the office, and unable to make eye contact with these strangers, smiled at the floor and then grew extremely nervous, immediately self-conscious and supremely excited. She hadn’t been “interviewed” in over a year, not that she had been counting. It was a lot of pressure, even with the dress on.
Sitting in the little chair and scanning the room instinctively, Jane looked back down at her shoes – the Disney-esque princess twirling confidence, now abruptly curtailed. Though she loved new people, adored the chance to speak with someone from the outside world, she also feared another disappointment. That fear took a slight advantage inside of her as she stared towards the door.
“Jane. This is Mr. and Mrs. Solomon. They would like to speak with you for a little while if that’s alright?”
“Sure.” Jane answered sheepishly after trying to adjust her posture while sitting in the small, oddly uncomfortable red plastic chair to their right. Why would anyone make a chair like this? Jane couldn’t help her distracted thoughts from seeping in. I mean my butt feels like it’s being pinched by the jaws of life on that rescue show we watch Tuesday nights. How does she expect us to sit still in this thing? No wonder none of us older kids get adopted, butts all pinched up and nervous as we are already.
Mrs. Solomon spoke first as she noticed Jane’s discomfort. “Nice to meet you, Jane. I’m Willa and this is my husband, Jason.”
About the Author:
Matthew Alan grew up in Canton, Ohio. After graduating from Kenyon College, and earning a masters degree from Western Illinois, he began a career in teaching and coaching. Matthew currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Fifty percent of the author’s profits from the book sales of ‘What We Leave Behind’, will be split, and donated to the Ronald McDonald House charities (rmhc.org) and the ASPCA (aspca.org). In the names of my father – Will, Shelly and Lauren.
The reason I’m choosing these two charities are manifold, but knowing the individuals as I did, and understanding the benefits these charities provide for those in need, it makes perfect sense.
Anyone who appreciates the healing power of animals, will understand the ASPCA . And if the circumstances happen when long term care of a loved one is necessary – then you understand the financial burden incurred by traveling during these times. The support of family and friends becomes immeasurable during difficult times – and these amazing charities represent the ideals of the individuals this book is hoping to honor.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy What We Leave Behind Print Edition at Amazon
Link to What We Leave Behind Print book for sale via at CreateSpace
Links to Purchase eBooks
Link To Buy What We Leave Behind On Amazon