Rachel Moulden for Digital First Media
Catherine Brakefield’s background is as diverse as her books and short stories.
From a young age, she had a strong passion for literature.
“When I was younger, I would get up early to snatch a few chapters before school, and on the bus, I’d pick up that book again,” the Warren native says.
Brakefield devoured stories about the Old West and the Revolutionary and Civil wars. A family trip out West after her high school graduation inspired the story for her latest Christian inspirational romance “Wilted Dandelions” (CrossRiver Media Group).
Brakefield got her introduction to writing at a manufacturing company, where she worked for more than 30 years. She helped write the company manual, wrote newsletters for churches and wrote short stories for publications. She went on to freelance for the LA View Newspapers in Lapeer, the Tri-City Times in Imlay City and for the Michigan Traveler Magazine in Breckenridge.
Since then, she has written four books — the nonfiction “Images of America-The Lapeer Area” and “Images of America-Eastern Lapeer Area,” her 2006 self-published novel, “The Wind of Destiny,” and last year’s “Wilted Dandelions.”
As a novelist, Brakefield prays that readers will relate to her character’s hardships and secret love, and that they will to be able to draw knowledge, strength and wisdom to better face their tomorrows.
“We need to learn how to tap into that inner strength God gives to us to rise above the pits of despair into the starlight of answered dreams,” she says.
Brakefield explores 19th-century America in “Wilted Dandelions.” Her heroine, Spinster Rachael Rothburn, wants to become a missionary and go west to minister to the natives. But she learns she must be married before the missionary alliance will consider her. Her dream appears impossible to accomplish until a series of incidents shows God designing new possibilities for her.
Brakefield says she realized, like her heroine, Rachael, that “God doesn’t create coincidences — he designs possibilities.”
“Life will never be a disappointment when you give it to Jesus,” she says.
“Wilted Dandelions” has been nominated for the Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award, in the category of historical fiction (christianpublishers.net/16votes/).
When she’s not writing, you may find Brakefield with her husband, Ed, horseback riding at their residence in Addison Township. Her love for horses is evident in her novels.
She grew up with a pet horse, and as a teenager, she spent her summer vacations working and saving money to buy a horse. Upon her graduation from Cousino High School, her parents surprised Brakefield and her siblings by buying a farm in Addison Township.
Brakefield says her own experiences informed the challenges in Rachael’s journey.
“Life is a series of disappointments for us,” she says. “Oftentimes, as a child, we wish to become a singer, or a dancer, a doctor or a policeman. Then later in life, we change our mission. Sometimes, we lose sight of our dream altogether,” she says. She hopes her readers grasp the message to never give up on their dreams even though life may throw up barriers to deter your course.
Brakefield will sign books at an event with refreshments and giveaways from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at Barnes and Noble, 2800 South Rochester Road, Rochester Hills. To learn more Brakefield’s novels, visit catherineulrichbrakefield.com.