Intersection Column | Perception Is Not Always Reality

0 comments Posted on November 22, 2021

by Patricia Bradley

I love being an author because it allows me to have all those careers I wanted as a child—and even after I grew up. One of those careers was to be a park ranger. Another was to be a detective. With Crosshairs, I got to be both!

When I first started the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, I thought I knew all about rangers. It was only after I interviewed the superintendent over the Natchez Trace that I discovered I had a lot to learn—like the National Park Service has an elite group of rangers in the Investigative Services Branch—think the FBI of the NPS. That was my heroine, Ainsley Beaumont.

Another thing I learned—there are law enforcement rangers and interpretive rangers. On the Natchez Trace, the interpretive rangers don’t carry guns. This was very important for my story.

You see, in Crosshairs, my hero Lincoln Steele is a former FBI sniper who has lost his edge after almost killing a ten-year-old boy. It cost his best friend his leg and ultimately his life. And now Linc can’t bear the thought of carrying a gun, much less shooting one. It’s why he left the FBI and became an interpretive ranger.

I realized Ainsley Beaumont might perceive Linc as weak because he wouldn’t carry a gun. After all, she is an ISB Special Agent, facing danger every day. I would just have to show her his true characters and that heroes come in all shapes and personalities.

What is a hero? Miriam-Webster defines it this way:

  1. a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
  2. an illustrious warrior
  3. a person admired for achievements and noble qualities
  4. one who shows great courage

But to my way of thinking, a hero is one who has a willingness to selflessly serve others, one who will weigh the consequences of an action—like running into a burning building to save someone—and still do it. And that was Linc.

Not that he was perfect—Ainsley Beaumont, my heroine, could attest to that, but then neither was she. Writing Ainsley’s character as she learned that unforgiveness only hurt her gave me the opportunity to look at those who hurt me in the past, and see their actions in a different light. Sometimes what we perceive as a negative is only someone looking out for us.

Because her father never told her she had a good voice, Ainsley thought he believed she wasn’t good enough to be a professional musician. Same thing with Linc. She took the advice they gave her about her singing career as a negative, when they were actually worried that the music industry might destroy her. And it very nearly did.

Taking the issue to God helped her see that not forgiving others hurt her the most. It also helped her see that her father had never come to grips with the death of his wife, and that he did the best he could at the time.

Ainsley eventually understood that even if all leaves us, God is there, as Zephaniah 3:17 tells us: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

I hope that Crosshairs speaks to you as you read about Ainsley and Linc’s journey to wholeness.

About the Author

Patricia Bradley is the best-selling author of The Logan Point series, The Memphis Cold Case novels, and The Natchez Trace Park Ranger series. Her books have won a Readers’ Choice award and have finaled in the ACFW Carols and Daphne du Maurier contests. She and her two kitties call North Mississippi home.

About the Book

Investigative Services Branch (ISB) ranger Ainsley Beaumont arrives in her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, to investigate the murder of a three-month-pregnant teenager. While she wishes the visit were under better circumstances, she never imagined that she would become the killer’s next target—nor that she’d have to work alongside an old flame.

Did You Know?

Eighty percent of children enter school with a high self-esteem score but score only 20% by high school. Children with low self-esteem feel adults in their life do not accept them or care about their safety. Boys are over four times more likely to die from suicide than girls, so they need affirmation to feel valued and believe they can act bravely. You can inspire courage in boys by:

  • Defining bravery (taking action even when you feel scared) and teaching godly values that build strong character.
  • Encouraging boys to step out of their comfort zone to try something new. Avoid being a helicopter parent and let boys fail. Encourage them to speak up, step out, go for a goal, and try again when they fail. Applaud their brave actions and pray with them for strength and courage.
  • Reading about ordinary people who showed courage and others who kept trying until they succeeded. Most of the famous Bible stories involve courage. These include the crucifixion, David and Goliath, Daniel and the lion’s den, Noah, and Jonah. We need to model bravery, share stories of family members who showed bravery, celebrate our son’s brave actions, role play, and discuss brave choices in different situations.

Karen WhitingDevos for Brave Boys

Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“When I step inside a bookstore and the staff calls out a welcome, I know I’m in my happy place. I love shopping in bookstores because of the atmosphere, the sense of peace and contentment when surrounded by books, and the excitement of finding the perfect story to take home with me.”

-Mary L. HamiltonHear No Evil, Book 1 Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Series


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