Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

Franklin resident Pam McDonald has always turned to writing as a way to express herself. Although she has been writing all her life, she just published her first book and is excited to share it with the world.

“This is a dream come true for me,” McDonald said of publishing her first book. “When I was a child, I loved books and hearing stories. In school I would write poems and short stories. It was my passion.  I loved to read fiction as well as non-fiction stories of innocence and faith, triumph over hardship, good every time the victor.”

McDonald, who just published her first book, “Windy Garden” said the book is an expression of her imagination over the years and stories that had been captured in her diaries growing up.

“My Gram always kept diaries, and one Christmas she gave me my first diary to write in. It was a treasure,” she said. “It had a lock, which gave me the courage to write whatever I wanted. Until the day the lock broke and I felt I had to hide my diary. Over the years, diaries became journals of my life and imaginations. That’s when a desire to write my own stories took root in my heart. After years raising my two children, working at Walt Disney World, then teaching kindergarten for 10 years and moving from Winter Garden, Fla., to Franklin, I decided it was time. Time to write the story God put on my heart several years ago.The setting changed but not the message. I wondered, like ‘Bonnie’ in my book, if I would fit in or find my place here in Franklin. Feeling anxious and unsettled, it inspired me to write a novel set in Western North Carolina.  So, ‘Windy Garden’ took on a new life of its own with fictional ‘characters’ that will draw you into their very different lives. Characters you might meet in any small town. Even some you may know in this sweet little town.”

“Windy Garden” is set in a picturesque small town, cradled by the breathtakingly beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. It’s a place to take in the sweet smell of the apple orchards covering the hillsides; a place to experience the vivid, fiery colors of autumn; a place to greet each day by watching the sun rise over the lush mountaintops. This is the town for home-cooked food, and old-fashioned fun. But is it a place for someone new? Newcomer Bonnie McDaniel learns the hard way that fitting in is never easy. She encounters Lucy, the friendly server at the local cafe; the hostile and unapproachable Nettie, the effervescent and chatty Kathy, the compassionate pastor of the Baptist church, and a host of other colorful “locals.” Bonnie is hoping to receive love and acceptance, but as she helps uncover some painful truths around town, she discovers home is where the heart is.

“I write because it is a way to express myself,” said McDonald. “A way to write out crazy imaginations, silly thoughts, serious hurts, heartfelt prayers and those of desperation, a way to pour my heart into something that is meant only for me.  But there are times stories go beyond myself to others.  Now ‘that’ is fun. I felt a message had been put on my heart by God that would, hopefully, speak to a lot of people seeking love and acceptance, as well as freedom from being bound to their past.  So ‘Windy Garden’ was born out of a deep desire to help people find hope where they could see no hope, find love in the most unexpected ways and show others that sometimes you may be the very one to reach out and help the most unlovable people. I was truly surprised how ‘Windy Garden’ practically wrote itself. For hours I would pore over scenarios and the one that spoke the loudest would jump onto the page. It was a two and half year intense journey to finality. I enjoyed every moment.”

McDonald said the writing process, paired with the faith-based theme of the book, changed her life more than she expected.

“Windy Garden has probably impacted my life more than it could anyone else’s,” she said. “So many of the characters in my book have become my friends and have taught me so many things.  Sometimes we are thrust into the lives of others for a reason. Instead of walking or running away, maybe we should persevere and show kindness and love. It could be the very thing they need.  Personally for me, I have been and am still working on living what I believe to be truth. To show grace, favor, toward others who need to see the love of Christ through me.  And the source of love, God, shows me how to love.  What better place to learn than from the One who is love.”

McDonald will be at the Macon County Public Library on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for a book signing.

About the author

Pam McDonald and her husband Dave moved to Franklin almost 11 years ago from Winter Garden, Fla. They grew up in Cocoa, Fla., and graduated Cocoa High School as sweethearts.  The pair married and moved to Orlando where they were part of the opening cast members at Walt Disney World, before the park opened. Together they have two children, Tony, who lives with his wife, Becky, and three children in Lexington, Ky. Their daughter, Tina, lives in Franklin with her husband, Brian, and two children. The family owns a carpet cleaning and mold/water damage restoration company.