In 2010, it was a week before Christmas—and less than three weeks before her beautifully-planned destination wedding in Jamaica, that Kiva Gates found a note on her bed from her fiancé. Of all the things said in the short note, one line would become engrained in her memory.
“I think it’s more than cold feet,” he wrote, effectively calling off the wedding.
Two years later, Gates—author of recent novel “I Will Give You Rain,” still hasn’t seen or spoken to her former fiancé since before he left the note. She never received closure, or an explanation of where they went wrong.
“It was just so sudden,” says the Kansas City, Missouri native. “There was no indication that this was going to happen. We don’t always look at the little signals or maybe I didn’t notice because we were too busy, engulfed in planning a wedding.
“I believe that was one of the things,” she confesses. “I was too busy planning a wedding.”
With 75 family and friends flying into Jamaica to witness the nuptials, the wedding was supposed to be a big event,— the type of wedding her guests would remember a lifetime.
“You go through the process of planning and then all of a sudden everything comes to a halt,” Gates recalls, “then you have to think about all the people you included into this.
“That was the biggest thing—to try to digest that you actually have to go and tell all of these people, in the best way you can, that this is not going to happen. And because you don’t have the explanation of why, you’re still left holding the bag because you don’t know what happened.”
The fact that her ex-fiancé called things off during the holidays, didn’t make things any easier. She knew, with all the parties and functions that take place during that time of year people would be asking why her fiancé hadn’t attended the events with her.
“I didn’t know if my demeanor would be appropriate,” says Gates, “so I wouldn’t go around people and I tried to stay away from those social gatherings that would create so much conversation that I’d become agitated.
“I knew that I was going to be okay,” she says. “I just didn’t know if I was going to be a nice person along the way.”
While she accepted that her former fiance didn’t want to be with her, she still had to grapple with the emotional backlash of a broken engagement.
Instead of going to Jamaica for her wedding, she turned it into a family vacation.
“It was good that it was Jamaica because I love the beach and water,” says Gates. “It was very soothing for me. With the people who care about me the most around me, it turned out to be one of the best times I’ve had, because although had these mixed emotions, I had my family. So I said, ‘I’m not going to be wimpy and ruin a vacation for them.’
“But at the same time when I would be in my alone time, I thought about what got me to this point. I started re-evaluating how did I get to this point?”
It was a question she had to grapple with as she returned home and dealt with starting the New Year in the opposite place of where she expected to be.
“You continue with your daily routine every single day,” she says of how she made it through her lowest points.
“Getting up, taking care of yourself, being pampered. Take yourself to the movies. Take yourself to the masseuse. Take yourself to the spa. take yourself out to a quiet place even if it’s at the park, then you can reflect on those things that really matter and those things that give you the strength to get up again the next day and the day after, and before you know it you’re not frustrated, you’re not agitated, you’re done crying. You’re over that part.
“You have to get the tears out, but after that part, it’s a matter of taking one step at a time and realizing that you have two choices—you can lay down in the fetal position or get up and keep moving forward and I chose to keep moving forward.”
She credits her relationship with the Lord with giving her the mindset that allowed her to put things into perspective.
“The wonderful thing about being in the center of who God is this,” she says. “You go through the storm knowing that on the other side God is still going to bring you to a better place, and because I knew that, I could refrain from being resentful, bitter, and vengeful.”
It was during this time that she began writing a novel based on her experiences,—something she’d decided to do while she was in Jamaica.
Reality was only the starting point for the romance thriller which “let’s people know that you don’t have to be a victim, you don’t have to be a person who feels gullible to other because of your vulnerabilities, but you can continue to have faith in God and know that if you keep your focus on Him you can recover from any situation.”
In “I Will Give You Rain,” when forty-year-old workaholic Kelli Sinclair searches for an explanation for why her fiancé abruptly left her, she unknowingly stumbles onto the trail of illicit conspiracies and a murderous plot.
Writing the book was a form of therapy for Gates who admits that writing the scenes that paralleled her real life were hard, “but you have to get it out to be able to go on to the next step.
“There are so many people that get stuck on relationships. You see all of these movies on the ID Network and the Crime Channel and all these things that are out here because people don’t want to allow their exes to leave. You have to release those things that cause you more harm than good. So if a person decides that they prefer to go away then you should allow them that opportunity.
“That doesn’t mean you can’t imagine in a fiction book to write your own scenario about what you think may have happened in this character’s situation.
“It’s a way to get it out, instead of holding it all inside and creating problems for your health or anything can come from not getting it out your frustrations.”
With her next book “A Moment Surrendered,” well under way, Gates—who presently works as Director of Training at the family’s barbecue empire, Gates BBQ— sees a long career as a novelist in her future, which she acknowledges may not have happened if her fiancé hadn’t left her.
“When something happens, don’t immediately say ‘Oh, why is it happening to me?’ Say ‘God is doing this for a reason.’ ” Gates advises. “Out of all of this that has happened to me, I have a published a book and I have a second one that’s coming out.
“After I wrote the book I said, “Oh, I needed this person to come into my life so I can reach out to other people and say I’ve been there. These are the things that helped me and possibly they may help you too.’ ”