Hidden Under Her Heart Guest Post and Give@way by Rachelle Ayala

Why I wrote about Abortion and Rape
 by Rachelle Ayala

Hidden Under Her Heart is a very personal book. I didn’t originally intend to capture  the heart-wrenching and divisive issues of abortion and rape . I was inspired by Matt Patterson, author of My Emily, to come to terms with the death of my son Ross in 1995. I told him I was in awe of his ability to look back through the years and write a memoir about his daughter Emily, her birth, illness and death. He said I could do that too, someday. At the time, it was unfathomable. I could not view my son’s pictures without crying and didn’t think I could relive those days in the NICU.
My friend Melisa Hamling, author of Twenty Weeks, encouraged me to use Ross’s life in a positive way. I remember a scene at my kitchen table shortly after Ross died. My two friends, avid pro-lifers, were sitting around criticizing second trimester abortions. I was in a fog and refused to think about these things. But it dawned on me that Ross was born at 26 weeks and would have been no different than a baby who had been aborted. I pulled out his pictures and looked into the face of a “fetus”, as the medical community would call him, but I knew in my heart he was a baby—my baby.
The story dawned on me quite easily. My characters, Maryanne and Lucas, sprung to life naturally. She’s a compassionate nurse with a troubled past, and he’s a nice guy with a warped sense of humor. They hit it off well, but while writing the book, I decided to up the stakes and have her pregnant by rape. I had at some point considered her threatening the rapist that she’d expose him by keeping the baby, but that theory was shot down by prenatal testing, and even testing the DNA of the aborted fetus. I know, gross.
So the story took a turn where it focused on the worth of a child, an unwanted child, even the product of rape and incest. I included a subplot of children with Down Syndrome and those with special needs, who I believe God places on this earth to teach the rest of us how to love. I didn’t want the story to come off preachy and aimed for a neutral ground. Maryanne is pro-choice and believes abortion is a personal decision. Lucas is pro-life and unable to personalize the political rhetoric to a single woman and her life.
The interesting thing is that I never really truly examined my own beliefs on abortion. Most pro-lifers easily concede the rape and incest exception. It’s a great sound bite and seemingly solves the problem by brushing it under the carpet. I can never underestimate how difficult it would be for a woman to bear and give birth to a baby resulting from acts of violence or abuse. I know what it’s like to be pregnant and feel attached to your unborn child, but do not know how it feels to give a baby away.
It was not until after I wrote Hidden Under Her Heart that I met Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life speaker conceived in rape, on Facebook. She’s the one with the smiling face and the disturbing message “Did I Deserve the Death Penalty?” Suddenly everything made sense. Behind all the rhetoric and positions, there’s one little person who has no say, no choice, and no protection. And I knew then that I had found the purpose for my book.
I hope it ministers to women considering abortion as well as those who’ve had them, but most of all, I hope it saves the lives of the little human being who God created to show us how to love in the most trying situations. The real heroine in my story is not Maryanne, but Emma Faith, the little girl who brought everyone together and gave them hope for the future.

Author Bio:

Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle is currently working on a romantic suspense that touches on disability. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

Visit her at: Website: http://rachelleayala.me Blog: http://www.rachelleayala.com or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.

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Buy links for Hidden Under Her Heart

Book Blurb:
Maryanne Torres is a compassionate nurse who fails at relationships. After a string of losers, she swears off premarital sex, hoping to land a marrying type of man.

Lucas Knight, a law-school dropout, moves to California to train for the Ironman Triathlon. He's smart, sweet, and everything Maryanne wants in a man, but their relationship suffers from his dedication to the sport. Seeking consolation in the arms of a handsome preacher's son, Maryanne attends a church party where she is raped.

Maryanne is pregnant from the rape and plans to abort. But the identity of her rapist is hidden in her baby's DNA. Lucas asks Maryanne to seek alternatives and pledges to support her through the pregnancy. When Lucas becomes the prime suspect, Maryanne must clear his name and make a life changing decision.

The rapist has other ideas. In order to destroy the evidence, he offers Maryanne an illegal offshore abortion. With Maryanne's life in danger, Lucas races to save her and her baby. However, Maryanne hides a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.
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  1. Wonderful post,Clare! Bravo to you for your courage and message.

    1. Thanks! It helps to have a purpose and lots of prayer.

  2. Glad that you were reached the point Matt Patterson predicted. Best wishes.

    1. Thank you Liz. Not quite there, but have more peace in my heart, especially when I get reader responses that they loved Emma Faith best.

  3. Love all of Ayala's novels! Great post and always love when a story has life related issues where the character comes to terms with their past and there's a happy ending :b. Love the dedication to sweet little Ross. Mwaaa to Ms. Ayala for all she had to go through.

    1. Thank you. This was a very personal story and shows God's grace. Thanks for kissing little Ross and encouraging me. :)

  4. Interesting premise

    1. Thanks! I also welcome any comments or feedback. Just contact me at my blog's "contact button". Have a wonderful day. :)


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