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Meet Monica Shaw of The Rainwater Secret in Lakewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Shaw.

Monica, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The Rainwater Secret is historical fiction based on the true story of my great aunt, who is 1950, went with the Medical Missionaries of Mary to Nigeria to teach the leper children. It is a beautiful story of hope, love and selfless giving.

A portion of the proceeds goes to The Medical Missionaries of Mary who are still doing great work all over the world.

As a young teen, I was always fascinated by my great aunt Lily (Anna in the book). She only came to Dallas a few times, but I remember everyone gathering around her to hear the stories of her adventures in Nigeria. Man, could she tell a story? She was just fun to be around and her commitment to the children she taught shone right through

Everything was about getting more material, getting more books, a sewing machine, anything and everything she could get her hands on to ship back to Ogoja to help make things easier for all the people in the village. She had a great sense of humor and was always up for a practical joke. I thought she was amazing.

We wrote letters back and forth for years and I went to see her in England twice, once when Molly was still alive and once when Lily was in the senior center. When she and Molly lived together in the little retirement village, she had happy hour at her bungalow every Friday evening after mass and most of the village (including the village Priest) came by. She made her own wine and just exuded life. I would say people just enjoyed being around her. She tucked me into bed every night with a cognac that nearly seared my throat but as they said in Ogoja – I got used to it!

Eight years ago I had the pleasure of reading the book Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and it made me think of Lily. I couldn’t stop thinking about her, so I began researching Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM), Ogoja, the Kiltegan Fathers and Lily. I went through all of my mom’s old memory boxes and with the help of several cousins, gathered information regarding Lily that my aunts had saved. From there I researched everything I could find on the internet and then finally arranged a trip to Drogheda, Ireland to the “mother ship” of the MMM’s. What an eye-opener that trip was! I thought I would just spend a couple of hours there and research their archives for whatever I could find about Lily. The sisters there were most welcoming and very willing to help me in my endeavor. Now, Lily lived a long life, so most of the sisters who worked with her were long gone, but there were a few who worked with her and certainly, almost all of them had heard of “Lily Murphy.” They were most gracious to us, and we ended up spending two full days there as we so enjoyed their company and their stories. What an amazing selfless group of women who traveled the world their entire lives to help others.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I got my degree in Geology & Petroleum Engineering. I have always written, but mainly for myself and my kids. I never had a burning desire to write a book until I started researching these brave, pioneer women. It was a struggle, but it was also very heartfelt and I was passionate about telling their story.

Having never published a book before, my only option was to self-publish through Amazon/Create Space. It was a trick to get everything in the format that they required and then another trick to get the cover correct. I think most authors use a cover “wrap” that covers the front and back of the book, but my cover was drawn by a local Dallas artist Josiah Jones. He drew the cover from a picture that Lily took while she was in Africa. It was difficult getting his artwork to fit the size of the book, but I am very glad that I got it all worked out because he captured what I wanted in a cover beautifully.

The Rainwater Secret – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
It seems like there is so much negativity in the world today. I am most proud that this book is all about good. It is all about hope, love and selfless giving to others.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I’m thrilled to be donating a percentage of the book sales to The Medical Missionaries of Mary. They are still doing great work all over the world. I’m happy and humbled to help them in a small way.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Judy Babinski

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. JoDee Neathery

    November 1, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Wonderful article about a special person and author. I’ve had the privilege to meet Monica and admire her story and storytelling skills.

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