LAKE FOREST — When Rosemary Hines began writing her first novel, she thought it would be pretty straightforward.
Sitting in her Lake Forest living room Thursday afternoon, Hines recalled how she pictured herself as the dictator, the one who would set the novel's agenda.
She was wrong.
"I was really surprised when the characters started taking over and telling me the story," she said.
For Hines, the writing process was one in which she watched a movie in her mind. It pushed her to try and type fast enough to keep up with the plot.
Making her mind's movie come to fruition — from idea to self-publishing — took the former Ensign Intermediate School teacher 17 years.
"Out of a Dream," the first in a three-part series, blends romance, suspense and Christian spirituality to tell the story of a young woman's fall into New Age beliefs, only to find those ideas leaving her wanting in her time of need. The series chronicles the woman's eventual journey to Christianity.
At first glance, the novel appears very similar to Hines' own life, but while she admits there were a lot of similarities, she said she found her protagonist, Michelle, making decisions she would never make.
The book, though, delves into suicide — a subject Hines is familiar with.
Mirroring Hines' own life, the father of Michelle attempts to take his life. Michelle's father, though, got the second chance at life that Hines' father didn't.
Hines said the subject matter was painful, yet also cathartic. It was important to her to show the turmoil, questioning and confusion a family goes through afterward.
"Suicide doesn't always end the way a person expects, or the way people think it will," she said, adding "it could actually create another nightmare."
The novel's journey from New Age beliefs to Christianity also comes from Hines' experiences.
A self-proclaimed former mocker of Christianity, Hines got into New Age beliefs, but after her father's death, she was left wanting more.
"When you need God, all you can turn to is the god you created yourself," she said about her former New Age beliefs.
It was after Hines turned to Christianity that she got the idea for the book as an offering to God.
It was also a chance to share her faith — even with former students. While she taught English at the Newport Beach public school, it wasn't an aspect of her life she could share.
"I'm excited that my kids will be able … to really get to know who their teacher was," she said, "and understand that journey of getting there."
Check it out
Book: "Out of a Dream"
Price: $32.95 for hardcoverCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun