How the sequel to At All Costs Came About…

Here Come the Brides by Micheala Lynn

Author Micheala Lynn tells us how Here Come the Brides, the sequel to At All Costs came about.

Even as I was finishing up At All Costs back in 2015, I knew there was going to be more to Alex and Jess’s story. I had this image of the two of them as newlyweds, both still with that honeymoon glow to them. But several things came up in our lives and Alex and Jess were put on the back burner. However, I couldn’t kick the image of them as recently married. I had meant to start on this story early 2020 but as luck would have it, I stepped off a wagon while unloading hay at my parents’ farm and broke several bones in my foot and ankle. And then less than a week later, everything shut down due to COVID. My wife had just started a job that was considered essential so she was working throughout the pandemic. She even had paperwork in case she was pulled over stating that she was an essential worker and able to be on the road. I spent over 3 months in a cast, only leaving the house for checkups. Fortunately, neither of us got COVID in those early days but we did lose people we knew. I tried several times to write during this time but I couldn’t seem to find the right words. Still, in the back of my head, I kept picturing Alex and Jess, alight with happiness after getting married.

We had been lucky not to get COVID but that luck ran out in the early summer of 2022. I was the first to get it and my wife came down with it a couple days later. We still don’t know how we caught it. I ended up in the ER with low oxygen levels. It was during this visit that I saw a sign concerning threatening or aggressive behavior and that got me thinking. A quick look around and I could see the signs of exhaustion and burnout on everyone at the hospital from the doctors and nurses to security. Being the writer that I am, I thought about Alex being an ER doctor and what it must have been like for her (our characters are always like real people for us). Even though we had been vaccinated and took precautions, COVID hit us hard. I can’t remember being sicker in my life.

I eventually tested negative but the effects of the infection hung on. Even months later, small exertions would wear me out and large exertions would leave me wiped out for days. I was told that it might take a while to get back to normal but it seemed to be taking forever with little progress. I’ve always had asthma and breathing issues but something else was happening. I couldn’t walk through a store without stopping halfway to catch my breath. I’d help out on my parents’ farm only to have to sit and gasp, unable to do much of anything and when I did, I was left exhausted for days. Strangely enough, I kept thinking about Alex and Jess. I thought about them running and how it would be nice if I could walk to the bathroom without feeling as if I’d just run a 5K myself.

Since I couldn’t do much else, I started on Alex and Jess’s story. As it turns out, the title was the first thing I wrote, which is the first time that has ever happened. Usually, I struggle finding a title. My office is on the second floor so I would gather drinks and snacks and anything else I might need before heading up those stairs. It felt like climbing a mountain, leaving me gasping and wheezing by the time I got to the top. I knew that if for any reason I had to go back downstairs, I wouldn’t be coming back up, not that day. During this time, I saw more doctors and had more appointments than the twenty-five years previous. But I kept writing. Alex and Jess got me through. I finished the rough draft in record time—108 days. By the time I finished the second draft, a CT scan finally found the root of my health problems. I learned I have a congenital heart condition, one of those acronyms that is made of a long string of letters, mostly vowels but with a couple of letters I’m sure are from another language. COVID had exacerbated the condition.

Throughout everything, Alex and Jess were my constant companions. Whenever I was feeling down, their resilience helped me through. Medications and lifestyle changes have helped with my heart but it was a healthy dose of Alex and Jess that really kept me going. For that I’m grateful. I hope my readers will fall in love again with Alex and Jess and follow them on this latest journey. But the question remains, is this the last of Alex and Jess’s story? I don’t think so. They have more races to run as do I.