contemporary family drama
Of Stillness and Storm
“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”
It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.
At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.
Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.
Brief physical description
Lauren is a forty-year-old woman. Before her family moved to Nepal, she wore makeup that enhanced her dark eyes and high cheekbones and her straight brown hair in a long style that framed her face. She’s cut it into a short pixie style now, and though she tries to take care of her appearance during those weeks when Sam is in town, the toll of doing life in a country where everything is so complicated sometimes robs her of the energy for putting effort into her appearance.
Physically, I think she resembles Ann Voskamp.
Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths: devoted, insightful, trusting, witty, analytical, strong.
Weaknesses: conflict-averse, sometimes fearful, submissive to a fault, prone to anxiety.
Your inspiration for the character
More than anything, I wanted Lauren to be relatable. Though her personality is clearly defined and her circumstances are unique, I think there’s a bit of Every Woman in Lauren’s approach to love, dreams, faith and life challenges. Since Of Stillness and Storm is written in the first person, Lauren needed to be both insightful and expressive—able to analyse herself and relate what she found in terms with which readers could identify. Giving her a love of writing and words made it possible for me to reveal some of the inner conflicts that would have been much more difficult to convey in a third person perspective. Flashbacks to the milestones that shaped her perspective on relationships, God and purpose give readers a more intimate understanding of the factors that brought her—her work, her marriage, her motherhood—to a crisis point.
Background to the story
In a sense, Of Stillness and Storm is the product of exactly what English teachers tell their students to do: write what you know. Lauren and Sam are not that different from members of the community in which I grew up. My parents were missionaries to France for forty years, and I lived surrounded by devoted Christians whose hearts were in the right place, but whose priorities were sometimes obscured by their zeal to reach the unbelieving. I wanted to share their stories.
A secondary burst of inspiration came in February 2012, when I traveled to Kathmandu for the first time and was struck by the beauty and brokenness of the country. A story centered on a missionary couple’s journey from their first encounter to their moment of reckoning had been trotting around in my mind for a while, and I saw in Nepal’s desolate landscape and difficult living conditions a metaphor for the toll an honorable but reckless ministry can take on good people.
When Lauren first spirited her way into my mind, she carried with her the weight of a past I couldn’t wait to explore. From its inception, I really wanted this book to be an intimate record of Lauren’s thoughts and responses as love, family, ministry and loss entered her life. The evolution of her marriage to Sam was a story I wanted to treat with unflinching honesty. The degradation of her bonds with the son she loves so fiercely were an aching part of the writing process. And to be honest, I hadn’t planned for Aidan’s reappearance in her life. He surprised me—I love it when that happens. And all of a sudden he was a pivotal part her journey and a galvanizing presence in her grappling with purpose and identity.
Raised in France by a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle is a mentor, writer and speaker with a heart for MKs. She taught for 20 years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own ministry advocating for TCKs. She now travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students and Marvel movies.