July 8, 2005

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Hawks Crossing and Hoosier connections

For 15 years, Sandra Marek Behringer worked for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. She retired two years ago as director of gift planning for the Catholic Community Foundation.

During work-related travel, she “fell in love with rural Indiana,” being especially impressed with the Paoli area. She knew some day she would include these areas in her writing. After 10 years of penning a novel on lunch hours, evenings, and weekends, her dream was fulfilled this year with publication of the book, Hawks Crossing.

She has captured the ambience of southern Indiana and other places well. Coincidentally, when she and her husband, John, stayed at a bed and breakfast in Paoli, they found the daughter of the owners had the same name as one of her characters—and a carved rocking chair echoed the craft of yet another fictional character.

As I read Hawks Crossing, I often found situations or settings that felt familiar, almost like having déjà vu moments. However, the story itself is unusual and intriguing. According to the book’s back cover: “Haunted by an inexplicable dream, 22-year-old Kate Brady returns to Hawks Crossing to uncover the mysteries of her past. At the age of 5, after a tragic fire that claimed her parents, Kate was sent away. From her remaining family, she seeks the truth … about her past … the events that shaped her childhood and persisting insecurities. Even a long awaited romance begins to flourish… Readers, beware, once you enter Hawks Crossing, it will be hard to leave …”

How true! In fact, my interest was fully captured when finishing the book’s prologue, which sets the stage for rich and rewarding reading time ahead. When reaching the end, I felt I not only knew the characters but cared about many of them.

If the author’s name seems familiar to Criterion readers, you won’t be surprised when I share this: Sandra’s poetry has been appearing in “My Journey to God” for years. In fact, she has even penned a published poem, “The Wider Sky,” which reflects her knowledge of hawks and her experiences when flying one in Ireland. Yes, she is a gifted poet, too.

Readers can meet her at a book signing from noon to 5 p.m. on July 16 at The Village Dove, 722 E. 65th St., Indian­apolis. In June, she signed books after Sunday Masses at St. Luke Parish in Indianapolis, where she worships.

Spirituality, the Catholic faith, and a struggle between good and evil are woven well into Hawks Crossing. In fact, Sandra worked closely with Christian-based Tate Publishing & Enterprises ­( www.tatepublishing.com) to get her book in print.

Readers can learn more about the author, her book and her poetry at www.sandramarekbehringer.com The book is also available by contacting the author at sbehringer@comcast.net.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


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