The self-published author of Where Hope Lives, Ali Warren, attended our June meeting as the guest speaker. A pleasant, courageous, and determined young woman, Warren is a 23-year-old, seventh year firefighter and EMT. She got involved in firefighting by chance and by watching shows such as Third Watch and talking to other people. Warren explained that she was not initially writing about herself when she started the novel. However, she explained that once she mentally owned the story, she changed the main character's name to her own. The character Jim in the story is actually the name of Warren's grandfather (deceased), and she left the character open to the reader's interpretation. Members present had differing opinions, such as he was her guardian angel or represented God. Burning questions asked by members included:
Does Warren have ill-will toward the people who did this to her?
Does she sees them?
Did they ever apologize to her?
Do they know about the book?
Warren said that no, she has never received an apology, and that she does think they know about the novel. While she changed their names, people know who she is, so they could figure it out. Warren, a graceful young woman, stated that she forgives all of them, and she is moving on. She doesn't think it is right, and she continues to bring awareness to her plight through her writing.