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Westbow Press author, Danielle Stammer, shares inspiring story about surviving the Joplin tornado

One of the great things about being an author today is you absolutely can get published and share your story with others. Years ago, that might not be possible. Consequently, there are some books that get to market that may not sell a million copies,  but will impact thousands of lives. One recent example that came to my attention is Singing Over Me, which was published by Danielle Stammer through Westbow Press.

A year ago  Danielle and her family sought safety from the category 5F tornado in Joplin, Mo. Their home, along with much of their city, was destroyed. Recently, she was featured in an article in the New York Post, titled Twist of Fate.  Danielle also just published her first book, which details how her family survived the storm and how they’ve rebuilt their lives in the midst of loss.

The entrance to St. John’s Medical Center where the Stammers sought shelter from the storm.

Here are a few excerpts from an interview she did on the Westbow Press blog and the closing paragraph from the New York Post article.  Her faith is what sustained her as she shares in her book, but even if you can’t identify with that part of her story, I think her comments about writing are helpful to all authors.

What detail do you remember most about May 22, 2011?

DANIELLE: Most days easily fade in our memories with only a snippet or two that sometimes remain. May 22, 2011, is crystal clear and full of details in my mind. I can easily feel the hectic pace as our family scrambled out the door for church that morning; I can see myself breathing a sigh of relief and excitement as my husband’s graduation celebrations came to a close that afternoon; my heart beats fast as I remember trying to make certain my friends and loved ones were taking shelter when the sirens went off; I can still see the black sky, full of energy and tension, only moments before the tornado formed; and I can still hear the silence in my mind when my ears were too full of noise to process individual sounds. But, I think the detail I remember most about May 22, 2011, is the peace I felt while hunkered down over my 17-month-old little boy as the wind ripped into the space around me.

Writing is healing….in a form that would benefit others

Why were you inspired to write?

DANIELLE: Writing is healing. Singing Over Me was already swimming around in my head when the Lord inspired me to process my journey in a form that would benefit others. Isn’t it just like the Lord to heal me in a way that offers healing to others?

Did writing your manuscript come easily?

DANIELLE: Surprisingly so. I joke with others that it was because I didn’t have to come up with the plot on my own!

What impact do you want your book to have in the world?

DANIELLE: Oh, for people to know Christ better or fuller through my story would be my greatest desire. I would love for those who are struggling under the weight of life to find a friend in Singing Over Me who walks with them in their raw and honest journey to renewed hope and trust in the Lord.

The tornado damaged our town, but it didn’t destroy our spirit.

Here’s the closing paragraph of the New York Post article

A year later, almost to the date, nearly 80% of the businesses that were destroyed during the tornado have been rebuilt and already have reopened.

Though there are still signs of the storm, areas that are abandoned or not yet fixed, the community is healthier and more united than ever.

We got help from outside our town, too. The show “Extreme Home Makeover” built seven homes in seven days and helped rebuild our Cunningham Park.

But the work isn’t over.

On May 26, the town will celebrate the second-annual Restore Fest, a Christian-rock charity festival.

The first one occurred just 45 days after the tornado and helped raise funds for the early recovery efforts.

The second annual one will be even bigger, with many Christian rock bands performing to help us raise money for Joplin residents who still need the help, providing thousands of people with services, such as free groceries, hot meals, haircuts, and job fairs.

The tornado damaged our town, but it didn’t destroy our spirit.