Shoot. He's there. I can see through the window. Not that I should be surprised, for he's always there (at least since my mom died, he is). It means that I'll have to sneak in, try and rush straight to my room in order to meditate.

Let me back up a bit. My name is Maureen (Mo for short); I'm sixteen, but I'm going to be a senior this fall 'cause my birthday's in September, so I'm really almost seventeen; and I've decided, only tonight, that I'm going to be a nun of the Swami Order, which has its origins in India. That's why I'm starting my story right here, by the way. You have to begin with a hook is what I figure. This is mine…

(Becoming a nun is a pretty big deal, you have to admit!)

So starts BIG HEAVEN, which follows sixteen-year-old protagonist, Mo Proctor, as she struggles between her desire to be a nun and her familial responsibilities. Mo's mother has recently died, leaving Mo alone with her father, a man she doesn't feel she "really knows," who is starting to show signs of early Alzheimer's disease. 

In fits and starts, Mo tries to get her father to be more self-sufficient, to get her aunt, whom she invites for a visit, to help out more, and to ignore an unforeseen love interest who suddenly shows up in her life. She needs her father to be self-sufficient, not only because she wants to leave home to become a nun, but also because if he’s not, Social Services could end up placing her father in a nursing home, and sending Mo off to odious foster care, which is the last thing she wants.

Mo takes comfort from her conviction that a near-death experience she had at age twelve, and the "prophecy" that resulted right after regarding a decision she'd have to make at sixteen, point to becoming a nun now. But is this a real calling she feels in her soul? Or a desire to escape her life? Or possibly both?

BIG HEAVEN explores the issues of having to face responsibilities in life—even when you think you're too young to face them—and of figuring out the things that truly matter the most.

I really hope you enjoy accompanying Mo Proctor on her journey as she deals with a very sweet, yet deteriorating father; a funny, sarcastic best friend; a flaky aunt; and a tantalizing love interest, as much as I have enjoyed bringing her journey to you.

Charlotte Hebert
Author of BIG HEAVEN (Savant 2016)