Lillie Ammann, author of the novels Dream or Destiny and Stroke of Luck, writes and edits as a freelancer for authors, publishers, and organizations.
Look and Listen
Lillie Ammann writes and edits as a freelancer for authors, publishers, and business and nonprofit organizations. She specializes in working with authors who self-publish their work.
A graduate of Southwestern University with the degree Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude, she owned and operated an interior landscape business for more than twenty years.
She had always dreamed of writing “someday” — suffering a stroke made her realize that “someday” had arrived. Although it took a couple of years for her to recover sufficiently to write, she started writing as soon as she could. She has published two novels, the contemporary romance Stroke of Luck and the romantic mystery Dream or Destiny.
As a freelancer, she works with authors and publishers to prepare manuscripts for publication, writes and edits business documents, and helps families and individuals compile family histories and memoirs.
Lillie, who has been a Christian her entire life, and her husband live in San Antonio, where she is an active volunteer for her church and other organizations.
Even as a child, I always enjoyed writing, but the first time I thought of writing fiction was in high school. I turned in a creative writing assignment, and my teacher read it to every English class in the school. It was a small school, so I didn't have a big audience, but I was excited about the reactions to my story.
However, I put thoughts of writing aside for years as I ran an interior landscape company. The only things I wrote in those days were business documents and an occasional article for a trade journal. "Someday," I told myself, when I retire, when I'm not so busy, when ... I'll write.
Then I suffered a stroke. Suddenly I realized I couldn't wait for a far-off "someday" that might never arrive.
I was paralyzed on my right side and lost sensation on my left side. My balance center was destroyed, and my eyes were damaged so I had quadruple vision. I couldn't lift my head off the pillow because I had no balance, I couldn't move my right side because of the paralysis, and I couldn't talk.
The inability to communicate was the worst. I was completely alert all the time, but since I couldn’t communicate, the doctors didn't know how much brain damage I had. The staff in the Emergency Room called me "the stroke in bed 1." I remember screaming inside, "I'm a person! I'm not a stroke!"
The next morning, the neurologist came into my hospital room. He said, "If we don't see significant improvement in three days, you might be like this the rest of your life."
I decided there was going to be significant improvement in three days. If I could move the fingers of my right hand, grasp the bed rail with my left hand, and raise my head and right shoulder off the bed, I would be all right.
For two days and nights I tried to move my fingers. "Move, move, move!" I thought about never pursuing my dream of writing. And I prayed and prayed and prayed.
In the wee hours of the third morning, I moved the fingers of my right hand. I reached out with left hand, grabbed the rail, and raised my head and right shoulder off the bed. Then I knew I would be fine.
I wanted to shout and tell the world. I wanted to call my husband and parents and siblings. But the phone was out of reach, and I couldn't have made myself understood on the phone.
It took almost two years before I was recovered enough to keep my promise to start writing. But after months and months of intensive therapy, I became functional again though I still have what the doctors call "deficits."
I was so blessed to have a wonderful husband who cared for me and helped me during all the time I couldn't take care of myself. I wondered how someone who didn't have that kind of support could manage. My first novel, Stroke of Luck, is my imagined answer to that question. Debbie goes through the same kind of stroke I did. The difference is she had to find her hero; I had been married to mine for years (almost 40 now).
I sold my interior landscape company and began writing full-time. I edit manuscripts and help authors who self-publish wind their way through the publishing maze.
My second novel Dream or Destiny, a romantic mystery, is complete fiction, not based on anything in my own experience.