"Making rainbows out of rain"
That was what South Lake resident Brenda Strickland's goal became after a series of traumatic events found her sitting in a wheelchair with PTSD afraid to leave her home. But thanks to some professional counseling and a renewed sense of purpose she was eventually able to figuratively get up out of her chair and begin to write.
Brenda wasn't a stranger to the literary world. As a lifetime educator and recipient of “Teacher of the Year” award, she had written nine classroom resource books over the course of her career. But fiction was something she had never delved into before.
That is until COVID threw her a major life curveball in the form of claiming her mother in the earliest days of the pandemic. Still reeling from that pain, she was knocked down again, literally this time, by her dog. An event which ended in a Medivac airlift and enough metal in her foot to short circuit an airport security scanner.
Two such life events in a row will certainty make a dent in one's fortitude, and Brenda was no exception. Experiencing two months in a wheelchair, unable to care for even her most basic needs, she was faced with a choice: let her circumstances “win” or fight back.
She chose the latter in the form of something she could still do despite her limited mobility - diving headfirst into the waters of a new work of fiction. Writing was a cathartic exercise that helped her to process through her mother's death. It was also a tangible way of symbolically honoring her by giving the heroine her mother's maiden name in her now published book, Moonshine and Salteens.
Brenda drew heavily from her life experiences and the knowledge she had gained as a researcher for a play many years prior. The play was about moonshiners, and their ingenuity figures prominently into the plot. The band of girlfriends in the book…they're real! The “Salteens”, as they've dubbed themselves, met through a mutual love of the arts (Brenda herself is an actor and puppet show creator) that found them working at the Harvester performance venue in Rocky Mount. Sharing so many wonderful experiences together over the years, some of which are documented in Moonshine and Salteens, they are still going strong with a Ticket to Paradise movie night on the docket along with a much-anticipated Christmas trip to Grove Park Inn.
Read all about the shenanigans of the Salteens as they travel down to the shore for some R&R and somehow find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery!