Dear Reader… BEFORE AND EVER SINCE
I used to read books, blissfully unaware of the writing process. I’m sure you do, too. After all, who wants to think about the writer’s angst over getting just the right story, with just the right feelings, imagery, plotlines and conflict? Seriously? Just give me a good story, don’t cry me a river!
I know. But see…there’s this river.
After I wrote THE REASON IS YOU, I thought it was all chirpy birds and rainbows, until it came time to sit down and pound out another book. You see, writing after publication is a tad different than it was before. What I took a year and a half to do for the first book, I only had months to do for the second. (insert appropriate deer-in-the-headlights look here.)
My characters come to me when they want to, and I find their stories as they unfold. Sitting down and telling them to report for work and get their acts together scared the daylights out of me. In fact, it didn’t work at first…and I panicked. All the doubting thought assailed me. What if that was it? What if I was a one-book author? What if I could never do it again?
My agent told me to relax. My editor told me to chill out. My husband told me to quit digging my nails into his arm and listen to my agent and editor. So one day, I planted myself on my front porch bench, and stared across the street, waiting for inspiration. Or maybe I was just waiting on the mail, I don’t remember. My mother’s old house—my childhood home—is across the street from where I live now. (Yeah, I know, I moved like fifteen times, and ended up married to the guy that moved in across from my parents.)
My parents are deceased now, but not a day goes by that I don’t miss being able to go over there and sit on the porch and have coffee with them. Or hear the big giant door knocker. Or find the scribbled notes I carved into the wood in various places. Or smell the familiar aromas of my mother’s house. What stories that house could tell if it were able. And as I sat there, a seed started worming its way down into the story-making part of my brain. What stories it could tell.
And at that moment, in my mind’s eye, a quiet, blond-haired woman sat down next to me and told me her name was Emily.
Although I wasn’t sure of the details yet, and they would change many times along that frenzied path of writing BEFORE AND EVER SINCE, I knew that Emily had a story to tell. A story about her, her daughter, her mother’s house, and how that house had things to show her. Things she thought she knew, but didn’t. It was about her journey to rediscover her past in a whole new light, whether she was prepared for it or not. And once her journey began, so did mine. We both went on a whirlwind of discovery we’ll never forget.
I hope you enjoy reading Emily’s story! For an excerpt of BEFORE AND EVER SINCE, click here.