Last week, we talked with Michael Kent-Hughes, the hero of the novel Dancing Priest and recently published sequel, A Light Shining. We also had a chance to talk with his wife, Sarah Kent-Hughes, who plays a significant role in the developing story.
Sarah, some readers have said that A Light Shining is more your novel than Michael’s. Do you feel that way?
I suppose I understand why people might say that, but I don’t think I agree. Certainly, my role changes from it was in Dancing Priest. And for at least a portion of A Light Shining, it assumes an importance and prominence that’s greater than Michael’s, for rather obvious reasons. But the story is still our story.
Some significant things happen to you in A Light Shining – you’re now married to Michael, you’re settling down as a young wife to a minister, you have your art career, your family is unusual for young marrieds, with a young boy to care for soon joined by a teenager, there’s your pregnancy, and then, of course, comes the Violence.
Ah, yes, the Violence (pause). All of those things aren’t terrible unusual, with the exception of the Violence. It is the event where Michael’s life and my life diverge, at least for a significant part of the novel. There’s a lot I could say, I suppose, but I don’t think I’m ready yet to talk about it. It is still too raw, too right there in front of me. I still have dreams about it. Nightmares, sometimes.
Can you talk about how you emotionally got through it?
My faith in God, for one thing. I simply kept holding on to it. At times it was all I could do. And then I had some terrific people who helped me more than they’ll ever know. My sister-in-law Barbara, for one; Scott’s wife. I don’t know how I would have made it through that weekend without her. Our boys, too, Jason and Jim. They risked their lives to save mine. And other people, too, Father John Stevens at the church, his wife Eileen, Michael’s cycling team. Paul Finley, our head elder. My in-laws the McLarens, and my dad. And so many more. All of them gave much of themselves for me and the boys and for Michael.
That last night before the Violence; can you recall it?
Vividly. Michael and Jason had gone to the youth coffeehouse at the church; Jim and I had stayed at the loft with Toby Phillips, our so-called intern. Toby told jokes and make shakes, smoothies, I think, even helping me forget how pregnant I was. And then, just a few hours later, it started. (Voice trails off) It was our last normal night. And it may have been our last normal night forever.
So what’s next for Sarah Kent-Hughes? Another book, perhaps?
What’s next is trying to rest while trying to raise a family. And I don’t even want to think about another book. At least not for some time. I know Michael is actively considering it, but we’ve only talked once about it, and he knows where my head is right now. But later on, I don’t know, we’ll have to see.
Note: Through tomorrow, Dancing Priest is a free download on Amazon Kindle.