Susan May Warren
“What do you mean I can’t attend my son’s wedding?”
This question, this thought circled my mind for the better part of 2020 as Covid swept the world. Amidst so many horrors was the realization that my son would be getting married in Italy, without his family present.
Not as terrible as so many other losses, but still, a major bummer.
Of course, we weren’t the only ones disappointed. His beautiful bride, Precious, was from Nigeria. They both lived in Italy, and while their Italian wedding was beautiful…it wasn’t a traditional Nigerian wedding. (and if you’ve never seen a Nigerian wedding, you are missing out!)
Another major bummer.
Our family had the privilege of meeting Precious the Christmas before, when our son brought her stateside for a holiday visit. She’d never seen snow before. Or experienced the deep cold of Minnesota. But she brought a warmth to our lives through her personality and her culture.
“Can I cook for you?” she asked a couple days after arriving.
She cooked up a storm, and we gathered around the table for a spicy culinary experience. Goat soup is not for everyone, but the laughter as we ate it together and learned about Precious’ life in Nigeria, as well as their wedding plans, ignited a story idea.
What if an American guy fell in love with a Nigerian woman and had to marry her in Nigeria? What sort of traditions would he need to observe?
That began an exploration of Nigerian wedding customs. And, because Precious and Pete couldn’t return to Nigeria for their wedding, she and I dreamed up her perfect traditional Urohobo wedding. We spent hours on zoom talking about Nigeria—foods, customs, language (pidgin English) and traditions. I asked crazy questions (e.g. why does your father have three wives?) and she helped me plot a book that involved a lost love, a marriage of convenience, and an epic adventure through Nigeria.
Most of all, we created the fictional Urohobo wedding that she never got.
Sunburst, book two in my Sky King Ranch series, came out June 6th. It’s a tribute and love story to my sweet daughter-in-law, and a deep dive into a culture filled with family, honor and love. It’s also a high stakes escape through a country that is besieged (mostly in the north) by violence by the Boko Haram and other guerilla groups.
I probably got a lot of things wrong. But what I received was a priceless introduction into the culture of my grandchildren, and a new addition to our family.
I hope you enjoy reading Sunburst as much as we enjoyed dreaming it up. It’s the second book in the epic adventure about three brothers who return home to their father’s bush service/ranch only to discover that trouble is waiting, in Alaska…and around the world. (Some of that trouble may be in Nigeria!)
Thank you for reading!
Susan May Warren
Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 85 novels with more than 1.5 million books sold, including the Global Search and Rescue and the Montana Rescue series, as well as Sunrise. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards.