When Katie’s work as a photographer takes her back to her hometown of Newport Washington for a wedding, Katie runs into a part of her past she thought was over. Can an old flame be rekindled? Or are some things just better left in the past? From the award winning and best-selling Inspirational Christian Romance Author T.K. Chapin comes a story of love, faith and family that will keep your fingers turning the page to see what happens next. One Sunday Drive is book four in the Diamond Lake Series by T.K. Chapin.
Targeted Age Group:: 18 and above
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wrote this book to help people that are going through difficulties in their life. Oftentimes it’s not until we stop trying that God can truly begin to work in our lives. The story centers on a woman who returns to her home town and runs into a part of her past that she wanted to forget. There’s a place for forgiveness and second chances in our lives and this story highlights that reality. My hope for this story is that it blesses you as much as it did me writing it.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
While trying to come up with another idea for this series I started playing around with some photography myself. Its amazing the work that goes into it! I knew then that my main character would be a photographer! I got the name 'Katie' because of my beautiful niece, and her mother Miriam shares some traits with the character Katie in the book. I thought it was a neat way to include my family.
Whispering a prayer to myself, I gathered up my camera equipment and headed out the door. Leaving behind the comforts of my flat in Spokane, I left for the open highway toward the Inn at the Lake out at Diamond Lake. The inn happens to be only a few minutes from the town of Newport, the town I grew up in. Shooting weddings was one of my favorite types of photography work, second only to capturing the beauty of nature. There was something magical about two hearts in love coming together to make a lifetime commitment. Though I loved weddings, this potential wedding made me a little nervous. It was someone I knew—Charlie Dillard. He was not only the prom king, but the high school all-star quarterback. We didn’t know each other well back in school, so I was surprised to hear he’d requested me for his wedding.
The pine trees that lined the paved driveway to the inn climbed into the sky like towers of a city. The majestic creations reminded me of my trip to Dallas last spring when I shot the McCurry wedding at the Edison. The tree tops accented the cloudless sky that day in a way that was unforgettable. Parking with a burst of energy, I took my camera from the passenger seat of my car and got out. Pointing the camera up as I leaned back, I snapped a few shots. Creatures stirred nearby, causing me to look around. Seeing a squirrel pass across the yard, I decided to follow. Carefully, I made sure not to make a sound as I didn’t wish to startle it. He paused near a bush and I dropped to one knee. Bringing my camera up to my face slowly, I peered through the view finder. There. Click. My camera’s sound wasn’t muted, so the squirrel fled into the bush in a quick dash. Seeing his cute face on the LCD screen on my camera caused me to break into a grin. I loved capturing nature above all else, for it was through nature that I could sense a closer presence of God.
“You must be Katie,” a woman’s voice said from not far behind me.
Turning around as I stood up, I laid eyes on the presumed bride to be. “Serenah?” Returning the smile to match hers, we met in the grass. I extended a hand to shake hers. She had one of those smiles on her face like all the brides I met—genuine excitement. The stress involved with planning a wedding for a bride was astronomical, from what I heard, so I always found it beautiful how happy they came across when I met them.
“Yes. That’s me!” Her voice rang. “I’ll show you around.” A hurried nod accompanied her jerking head gesture toward the front door of the inn.
“Wait,” I replied. “Let’s see if you like my style. I have some samples in my car.” I veered my steps toward the car, and she hurried to my side.
“I saw your website. It’s fine. Let’s go.” She gently guided my elbow, but I pulled away. Stopping, I looked at her. Her displeasure was easy to pick up on, and I needed to lay on the softer side if I expected to land her as a client. Part of me wanted to sabotage the whole thing to avoid awkward conversations with old classmates that never made it out of the little ol’ town of Newport. The other part of me, the more mature part, knew I needed her as a client if I wanted that record breaking month I was expecting for August. “Please,” I insisted. Raising a brow, I continued with a gentler tone. “This day is the most important day of your life, right, Serenah?”
Annoyance softened in her expression and that smile returned. Nodding, she replied, “Yeah. It really is special.”
“Then let me show you some photos from my wedding portfolio. There are only a few on my website, and I don’t feel they really give you a good enough feel for the style I can offer you. Let’s make sure this wedding is perfect. I’ll grab my portfolio.” Seeing that she still wasn’t entirely satisfied, I added, “Then you can show me around and we can talk about what kind of pictures you would like taken.”
Serenah smiled fully. “Okay. I’d like that.”
Walking over to my car with the bride trailing close behind, I rolled my eyes with a smirk on my face. Brides were always anxious and always desiring a hurried pace. I understood though. They just wanted to make sure their day goes perfectly and had a mile-long list to accomplish. I’d be the same way, I suspected. Getting into the back seat of my car, I popped open the tote that held my entire life. Every contract, every sample and every transaction on paper existed in the plastic cube. Thumbing through, I found the wedding portfolio. Opening it to make sure it was packed with great pictures, I saw a few photos from the McCurry wedding I did in Dallas—I cringed a little inside. It was a good wedding in terms of pay, but it wasn’t more than six months and the couple divorced. Luckily, I got my final payment before the marriage crumbled. Those marriages that failed within the first year left me with a sad feeling. My hope was if I ever did get married, divorce would never happen.
Getting out of the car, I handed Serenah the folder and shut the door. We walked down the driveway toward the inn as she browsed through the photographs. Watching her eyebrows, I looked for signs of how she was receiving the samples. Often, I found people were dishonest and would automatically ‘love’ whatever I showed them. While this made for a less awkward moment, it did little in the long run. Luckily, over the five years of being in this industry, I’ve learned to study people’s faces—and most importantly, their eyes. Eyes will tell the story that the lips do not. Seeing her eyebrows shoot up and a smile curl from the side of her lips, I knew the deal was sealed. Leaning over the side of the folder to see which shot captivated her, I saw it was the McCormick wedding. She looked over at me. With almost tears in her eyes, she said, “They look so happy.”
“They’re one of the ones who made it,” I replied as I thought about the Christmas card that Kane and his wife had sent me for the third year in a row last December. They had just had a baby boy a few months prior to the picture, and the infant had the cutest cry face I had ever seen.
“One of?” Serenah replied. “What do you mean?” Her voice was rattled, and when my eyes connected with hers I saw the fear buried behind them. Oops.
“Sorry,” I offered. “I didn’t mean to worry you.” Raising my eyebrows, I tried to appeal to her more reasonable side. “I’m sure yours will be different.”
Serenah nodded and then let out a deep sigh. “No, I’m sorry. These days are so stressful with trying to run the inn and coordinate the wedding. I know the stats on marriage. I was already married once before . . .” Her voice quieted. “Which is why I’m probably so crazy about making sure this one starts out perfectly.” Letting out another sigh, she took a deep breath and then smiled. “I know there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage. You know what I need? More prayer and less stressing over all the details.”
“You’re a Christian?” I asked with a raised brow. Though it didn’t increase the chances of a marriage working out as much as one would hope, I noticed a trend that when people included God, they were more likely to succeed.
“Yes. In fact, I recommitted myself to the Lord just over a year ago.” Her face held a glow that beamed of joy and thankfulness.
A smile broke across my face. “Always nice to work with a fellow believer.” Looking at the folder in her hand, I continued, “I mean, if you decide to take me on.”
She handed the folder back to me. “You’re hired. Charlie’s pretty excited to have you do the wedding.”
Laughing, I said, “Really? We didn’t really know each other that much back in school.”
“Yeah! He said the same thing, but said you took great yearbook photos.”
“Oh, yeah? I didn’t know he knew I took those,” I replied, flipping to the back of the folder. I pulled out a sheet. Handing it over to her to her, I explained. “It’s a list of suggested shots my assistant photographer and I can take. Glance over them and see which ones you want to see and check them off.” Grabbing the pen I had clipped inside my jean pocket, I gave it to her. Staying organized and knowing exactly what my client wanted out of the wedding was important to me. Getting the particular shots they wanted was a sure-fire way to make them happy. Then, of course, grab a lot of extras. It was in these ‘extras’ that I always would find priceless moments. They were my favorite part of the wedding. A grandfather sitting on a bench with the ring bearer or the groom and his father praying in a dimly lit hallway right before the ceremony. These photographs were what made photography feel like it was no longer a job but merely a human attempting to catch the beauty of humanity. It was in these shots that I found myself most alive.
As Serenah pored over the sheet and made marks by the ones she wanted, we continued to the door and went inside. Coming through the foyer and into the living room, she paused, looking at the paper. Lifting her head, she motioned to the French doors on the other side of the living room. “The wedding ceremony will be in the grass below the balcony. We’re using the gazebo that’s down there. You can go look around. I’m going to get a glass of water and keep going through this list. Did you want anything to drink?”
I shook my head. “No thanks.” Going outside, I shut the door behind me. The lake left me breathless. The sun glinted off the top of the calm waters and the sounds of birds in the distance stirred a calming force inside of me. Walking over to a railing, I put my hands on it and looked out across the water. After a study of the water, I peered over the side and surveyed the grass below. A gazebo, paddle boat, canoe and a shed sat off to the side. The gazebo appeared newly-built, without a lick of paint, while the shed held a rustic feeling from a different time. That shed could do nice for a backdrop, I thought to myself as my eyes fell over to the tree line that separated the properties near the shed.
Coming outside a few moments later, Serenah handed the paper back to me. “I’d like some photos done across the lake at this cool little church where Charlie proposed if we can do that too?”
“He proposed here at the lake?” My eyes went to the water once again. “That’s kind of neat.”
She nodded as her gaze joined mine. “There’s a neat little building straight across the lake. It’s a little old, rundown church. I’ll never forget the hike up there in the cold, but I didn’t mind. It was worth the cold. Sorry, I’m rambling. Anyway, is that something we could include in the photo deal?”
Turning to her, I replied, “We can meet up and do pictures over there a couple of weeks before the wedding if you’d like.”
“Could we just do it the day before? Maybe?” Serenah shrugged as her eyebrow raised. “Maybe you can get some shots of the rehearsal too? I just don’t see going over there very plausible before then. Balancing work with the inn and getting ready for the wedding is already too crazy. Sorry. The day before would just be better.”
“No need to apologize.” I reached out and touched her arm. “It’s fine with me, but totally up to you.”
“You can have a room here that night too!” Her eyes lit up. “Complimentary, of course. You’ll love it.”
“Oh, that’s okay. I’ll just drive out twice. No big deal.”
“I insist that you stay. That way, you can just be part of all the fun and festivities. You’re from here anyway, aren’t you? A lot of the guests will probably be people you know.”
“Yeah, I am . . .” I rubbed my neck as anxiety began rising up in me thinking of the ones from the past I didn’t want to see.
Suddenly, a couple of men came around from the side of the inn and were chatting as they walked toward the grass area near the shore. Looking over, I jumped as I saw Joe and Charlie walking together. Crouching down, I watched as they continued walking.
“What are you doing?” Serenah asked, still standing beside me.
Glancing up at her, I said in a whisper, “That’s an ex-boyfriend of mine.” My eyes went back on the two of them.
“Joe’s your ex?” Serenah asked.
“Shh . . .”
Serenah bent down beside me and looked out at them.
“Why on earth would Joe be hanging out with Charlie? They hated each other.”
Serenah nodded. “They patched things up between them not long ago. They’re best buds ever since they put the childish things in life behind them.” Serenah touched my shoulder. “Can you still do the job with an ex-boyfriend around?”
“I don’t know, Serenah. We have a past.” My eyes turned back to the men as they went into the shed. My eyes followed Joe as he came out of the shed with a bucket of paint and headed over to the gazebo. Recalling one of our last nights together over a decade ago, I remember how passionate he was about the future. About us. He had a way of speaking right into my existence and making me feel like his everything.
“You could just ignore him.”
I couldn’t let Joe be the one to deter me from taking this gig. We were both adults now. We could act like it, and I’m sure it’d all be fine. Rising to my feet, I looked at Serenah and nodded. “I’ll do it.” Spending a couple of days with a client wasn’t something I had ever done, but if she was willing to pay for it, I couldn’t say no. We went over all the costs, and I drew up a contract on my laptop that she signed. In one month, I’d be coming back to stay at the Inn at the Lake for the weekend and would be shooting the Dillard wedding.
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