On March 1, 2016, twenty-one-year-old Dalton Waite, son of Mary Dalton Waite, passed away due to an accidental drug overdose. As the Raven Cries: Choosing the Light of Hope Amid the Storm shares Mary’s journey of grief through excerpts from her journal, texts with friends, and posts on social media. It shows readers that mourning can turn into graceful surrender and even praise. All proceeds from the book will go to Dalton’s Vision, a nonprofit organization that Mary launched to provide supplies to homeless communities. During his life, Dalton spent much of his time with homeless people, letting them know they were seen and cared for. Both the nonprofit and the book honor Dalton’s legacy.
Mary on working with SPARK Publications.
I appreciate my SPARK Publications team for their willingness to take the time to truly listen to me and hear my vision. They had a tremendous amount of patience and always let me know it was my project and that they were there to help bring it to life. I loved working with Larry on the cover and the page/chapter design; he understood it needed to be unique. SPARK Publications also was willing to work with the book coach/editor I had hired, as well as my illustrator (a personal friend), which made the project a true collaboration!
Is there a particular moment that SPARKed your interest in writing a book?
I began to journal the day we found out our twenty-one-year-old son, Dalton, was dead from an accidental drug overdose. I poured my thoughts (disbelief), anger, and grief onto paper. As a Believer, I trusted God to get me through, believing He could use it for good somehow. The months and years went by, and I began to wonder if the contents of my journal could be made into a book. I left the “how” up to God, and one day an encounter with a friend opened the door.
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
I was surprised at just how therapeutic the writing process was; it became my lifeline. I never knew how detailed and time-consuming the editing and publishing processes were, but I loved the challenges. It was cathartic, and I grew, learning much more than I ever imagined.
How did SPARK Publications help in championing and publishing your book?
SPARK Publications was on board from the very beginning and understood exactly how vital this legacy piece was for me and my family. They were patient and compassionate, realizing how emotional my book project was. They encouraged me the entire way and made me feel confident about the importance of publishing these words.
Now that your book is published, are there any goals or experiences you’re looking forward to?
I can’t wait to see what God does! I trust God will put my book into the hands of those who need to know they are not alone. My greatest anticipation is in hearing from others on the journey—whether it’s mental illness or grief over loss; I hope these words bring them comfort, hope, and healing. I also want to engage with readers in a meaningful way through book signings and intimate speaking engagements.
What advice do you have for other authorpreneurs and aspiring writers?
Just put pen to paper, and find whatever process works best for you. There is no right or wrong way. Find a great book coach/editor who believes in you and your project from the beginning. And then choose a publisher like SPARK Publications that will collaborate with you. Having the right team to encourage and support you makes all the difference.
Tell us about your future plans—what’s next for you?
Continuing our work in homeless communities and talking honestly about mental illness is important to me and my family. Only God knows how and who Dalton’s Vision and my book will reach. Promotion of the book will continue through social media. I am scheduling book signings and speaking engagements that allow authentic, open dialog.
What does success mean to you?
Being successful is living out my true purpose: that every person I encounter feels seen, heard, and loved.
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