It started with the ash trees, the inspiration behind my new novel Before I Saw You. The bare branches of hundreds of dying ash trees in Indiana stuck out against the lush green of the rest of landscape, and the sight broke my heart.
If the emerald ash borer beetles haven’t reached your state yet, count it a blessing.
Researchers aren’t positive, but they suspect a barge carrying international cargo with bug-infested pallets inadvertently introduced the emerald ash borer to North America several years back. At first, the bugs claimed acres of trees in Michigan. But soon, the damage extended exponentially. The toll on the ash trees was quick and devastating and continues still today.
Some say ash trees will eventually become extinct in North America, but I hope they are wrong. Scientists are beginning to discover treatments to combat the insects, and the ash tree in our front yard is one example of their success.
So what does my heartbreak over ash trees have to do with a story about a young woman and an unexpected pregnancy, set against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic in Southern Indiana?