“I can’t wait to get it out there,” said Meyer, 53. “I think people are really going to like it.”
Meyer — who is founder and director of La Loba Inc., a healing practice located in Grand Haven — said she had been wanting to write a book for a long time. She would sit for hours in a local coffee shop and put her handwritten thoughts into composition books.
“The first three months were pretty tense writing longhand,” Meyer recalled.
After two years, she had her first draft completed and asked 12 readers to provide feedback. Meyer then spent a year typing what she had written in longhand.
By the time Meyer had typed her notes, she had 832 pages. The next step was to find an editor to help her with revisions.
Meyer turned to Grand Haven resident Dirk Weirenga, who has experience in the publishing world. He recommended a colleague, Vally Sharpe of United Writers Press Inc. of Atlanta.
“She is a wonderful editor and now is a friend,” Meyer said of the book’s editor. “You have to build a relationship and we have.”
Meyer and her editor were able to eventually chop 50,000 words from the original manuscript for the final draft.
Meyer had intended to write a nonfiction book, but decided to write fiction because readers could more easily follow a storyline, she said.
Meyer is publishing the book through her private practice, calling her publishing company La Loba Publications.
“I’m taking my practice to a new level,” she said. “This will be the first of many publications out of La Loba.”
“Lillie’s Redemption,” Meyer said, is a tale about a small town’s struggle from trauma within the church, and they find help in talking about it and working together.
“It’s about real people and real challenges,” Meyer said. “It’s a love story with great characters.”
Meyer used her experience as a counselor and church minister as material for her book.
“I want to show the good and the bad about the church and how it operates,” she said. “I have the minister’s perspective — behind the scenes — in the church, and I know how it can affect things. The politics and the power structure of a church can be very damaging. But there’s also the power of the spiritual, the mystical and the sacred.”
Meyer said she hopes her book can offer healing and redemption, as well as make readers aware of abuse of power in organizations and to encourage honest communication.
“That’s a pretty lofty goal, but that’s what I really hope to build in this world,” she said.
Meyer and her husband, Tim, who owns Rock ‘n’ Road bicycle shops in Holland and Grand Haven, live in Grand Haven. They have two grown sons, Matt and Ried.
Lydia Meyer grew up in New England. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., and a master’s degree in social work at Grand Valley State University. She worked as a foster care caseworker for three years and held several other positions before deciding to embark on a master’s of divinity degree.
As an ordained United Church of Christ minister, Meyer was pastor at the United Church of Christ in Grand Haven for five years before launching her private practice — La Loba — as a counselor, specializing in women’s issues.
Meyer said she has kept a journal since she was a child and is confident that her experiences will help those who read “Lillie’s Redemption.”