I have finished my first novel and now have it in the hands of a wonderfully talented editor, Linnet Woods, who lives on a boat off the coast of Spain. This seems a good time to consider the question of why am I am finally writing my first book. Maybe my story will make readers believe they, too, have enough to say to begin (or complete) their story.
Why do I write? I couldn’t answer that question until I came to terms with why I haven’t written. Even that must be clarified: I have always written, but never even thought of writing a book until I started writing Pieces of You. I wrote in a journal as a child, but it was primarily about my parents’ horrible relationship. Then I took up journal writing again as a divorced adult, but my second husband destroyed that book. (Evidently he thought the memories of my former male friends would be erased if the pages on which they lived were eliminated.)
I wrote for work—annual reports, marketing material, curriculum, and other such works required of a bank manager, economic development director and then college instructor. I remember a former boss, the head of Battle Creek Unlimited, commanding me to write a book while in the Peace Corps.
I did not. I had nothing to say.
Yes, I had many amazing experiences while in Kazakhstan and while living a life that was never the typical fairy tale. I was always busy trying to accomplish—and to escape. And I always read novels–to escape and/or to learn, so I could accomplish more. But I didn’t find the inspiration to share what I was learning…until Kirk/Mark’s death.
In trying to answer the why question, I have concluded that, for me, writing a book is about sharing what has changed me enough to believe (or at least hope) I can answer questions others have, too. When the model for my protagonist died unexpectedly, I had lots of questions: Where was he? Why did he have to die just when our relationship was becoming something very special? Why weren’t prayers answered? To answer some of those questions, I had to do considerable research, soul searching, and creative thinking. As I detected answers, I began writing his story—or what I believe could be his story.
Why do I write? More specifically, why did I write my first novel at 60 something? I finally have something to say. When I faced my haunting questions, I found some incredible answers. But most of all, I wrote this one to recover pieces of him.