I tend to keep my acknowledgments simple in my books. This is because they would go on for pages and pages if I were to properly thank those who helped me (I need a LOT of help when writing books). But I realized that I can go on and on (and on and on) on my blog and so I thought it might be fun to do kind of an expanded version of the acknowledgments for CROSSED in some of my posts.
For all my books, but this one especially, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my younger brother, Nic, pictured above (and since I know some of the ladies might be curious, yes, he is currently single). This book is about many things, including survival. Though I grew up hiking the canyons of southern Utah, I needed a lot of help when it came to details about wildlife, fish, climates, etc. Nic is a fisheries biologist and an avid outdoorsman and he was always willing to answer (and often laugh at) my stupid questions. He read multiple drafts of this book and offered helpful and often hilarious feedback. I wish I could tell you some of it but I am afraid the majority of it is not fit to print.
It’s interesting to me how family roles can shift and change. I was the older sister, and sometimes I picked on him, the little brother. But as we grew older we became close friends (which is a good thing, because I ended up being 5′ 3″ and he ended up being 6′ 5″). I remember realizing that things had changed one day when we were walking down a sidewalk in a city and there was a raving, drunken man shambling along the sidewalk. We both collided in our attempt to be the one walking on the outside, closest to the man, in order to protect the other. I remember looking up at Nic and him laughing at my thinking I could protect him, but the older sister instinct runs strong.
It is humbling and wonderful to watch your younger siblings pass you up in so many ways, to take on talents and lives of their own. Our parents took us both into the canyons and down the rivers, but he is the one who put in the time to learn how to fly fish so well that I have seen people stop and watch him along the banks. He is the one who knows exactly what swims in the streams where we spent our childhoods and who knows how to catch the biggest fish, pull out the hook, and throw it back to swim again (even the fish in this picture is one he released).
My mom used to tell Nic and my sisters and me (often when we were fighting) that you usually have your brothers and sisters for longer than anyone else in the world. You share more of your years with them than with anyone else, parent or child or spouse. And though that meant so little to me back then, it means the world to me now. Nic is the one who can recall how, the summer I was supposed to babysit him when he was seven and I was thirteen, we both made a compact to secretly flout my mom’s one hour of TV a day rule. Both of us HAD to watch Perry Mason and Days of Our Lives (it was the summer Carly got buried alive–man, that was some good television). We sat there with our sandwiches and pop and were riveted every single afternoon. We both know what we mean when we mention the Simpsons Movie fall, we both laugh until we cry about the same memory from the Havasupai hike. He knows the personal heartache from the past few months and is always willing to listen. He knows that I spit out my hotdog in the parking lot in Nanaimo, Canada in a fit of pique on a family vacation. We can argue about the best flavor of cake roll that my grandma used to serve at Sunday dinner and we are agreed on the awesomeness of my Aunt Elaine’s orange rolls. We know the green tile and odd smell of our elementary school and the routes we ran the year he came to early morning cross country practice with me. The list goes on and on.
So. Thank you, Nic, for the helpful advice (any mistakes that remain are mine alone!) for making me laugh and keeping me from taking myself too seriously, and for taking my kids fishing. It is a privilege to have shared so many of the same years on this earth.