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Inspiration Behind The Air I Breathe

Updated: Nov 25, 2023


Mother and daughter hugging.

The female main character in The Air I Breathe, Kelly Sutton, suffers from panic attacks. The inspiration behind this came from a real-life encounter. Around twelve years ago, my coworker and I took a break to walk around the office building we worked in. We saw a young woman leave the building. To our shock, we watched as she kneeled on the concrete sidewalk and bent over.


Concerned about her well-being, we rushed over to her and asked if she was alright. She said she was having a panic attack. I’ll never forget the sound of her wheezing.


I asked what we could do to help her and if we should call 911. She begged us not to call, so I knelt beside her, rubbed her back, and silently prayed over her. After ten minutes or so, she recovered enough to go back inside the office building. She told us that when people call 911, it embarrassed her. She knew how to cope with the panic attacks, but others didn’t understand and overreacted, making things worse for her. She thanked us for stopping and for listening to her.


The Air I Breathe (Steadfast Love Book 1) by Karen Baney. A Christian contemporary romance book.

Though we never crossed paths again, that encounter stuck with me. When I sat down to write Kelly’s story about starting over in a new city, I knew two things:

1. I wanted to represent this experience through her character.

2. I wanted to tie her experience with the idea that God is the air we breathe (like the popular worship song’s lyrics).


Many times, real-life provides inspiration for my characters or their trials and that was certainly true for many of the topics, besides the panic attacks, included in this novel.


Where can I learn more about The Air I Breathe?


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