Divine destiny: Larimore's book celebrates unconditional love
A Wednesday night sermon at Triad Baptist inspired Susie Larimore to trade banks for books.
The result is “Caroline’s Destiny,” her first fiction novel — available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and WestBow Press and set in the fictional town of Moondale, North Carolina, outside Winston-Salem.
Published by WestBow, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, Larimore’s tale hits close to home in its focus on a child wanting but never getting love and acceptance from those she loves the most.
The product of a moment of passion, the book’s fictional “Caroline” rises above her mother’s spite and resentment to profoundly impact several lives through selfless love.
“I have carried this desire to tell the story for 18 years,” says Larimore, who began the book project after ending a 13-year career as a teller at the State Employees Credit Union in Kernersville. “My book is about unconditional love, and to choose to love the unlovable just as Jesus Christ did, and as we’re commanded to in scripture.
“Galatians 6:9 says to not grow weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap what we sow,” she says. “The book helped me heal from my own pain and has given me a voice to tell others we are not a mistake but have a purpose.
“ I pray God will work through me to bless others through ‘Caroline’s Destiny,’ ” she adds. “While I still struggle daily with the belief that I can be loved and not lose that love, I stay in the Bible and focus on the promises of God. When you chose to forgive and love others, it frees you since we all have a choice to be better or bitter, and Christ wants us to forgive.”
Inspired by a sermon message
Not a writer by training, and with no previous books to her credit, Larimore says it was a message by Triad Baptist Lead Pastor Robert Decker that set the book in motion.
“I came to Wednesday night services and Pastor Rob’s sermons were about growing and trusting God when the Spirit is asking you to do something else,” Larimore says. “He asked us one night: ‘Are you doing the same thing you were three years ago?’ I thought, ‘Yes, I’ve been doing the same thing for the last 34 years!’ That was my confirmation.
“It also came as my mother and her brother’s health was failing, and I was considering what I needed to do to help them. And I also believe the Holy Spirit was telling me that I needed to write this book. So I trusted Him and stepped out and wrote it. I plan on writing more if it is God’s will.”
To prepare, Larimore took writing classes from The Institute of Children’s Literature, joined the Writer’s Roundtable in Kernersville, and spent three years planning and researching the 1960s and 1970s, including popular trends of the times, and names used.
One of her book’s characters is named “Robbie” after Pastor Rob and grows up to become a pastor. As with many other characters in “Caroline’s Destiny,” he’s drawn from real people in her own life, in this case Pastor Rob and her son, Daniel, who is also a pastor.
At Triad, Susie and Randy are members of the Living Epistles Sunday School Class. She’s also a longtime choir and Finance Committee member and Bible Institute student and has volunteered with the Vacation Bible School of Kids Street Children’s Ministry since 2012.
Despite the caregiving duties that came with taking care of her mother and uncle, Larimore says the change also gave her more time to pray, read scripture, draw closer to God, and write so her book could become a reality.
“I wrote an outline of the book, and added what I needed to tell in each chapter,” Larimore says. “It took me a while to gather the courage to actually start writing. Once I had my thoughts together, it took nine months to complete.
“While it’s adult fiction as a genre, the story could be real, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all thought more like Caroline in the way she loves others? I hope the reader will be able to relate to at least one of the characters in the book. Caroline loved and respected each one of them, and chose to love and forgive.”