It took me 25, long, insecure years to finally get the courage to publish. I just didn't think anyone would want to read my little books. I couldn't even get my husband to read them! To be fair he didn't read novels for the last 10 years of his life because of his many health challenges. In addition, how many men do you know that want to read a book about gushy, mushy, romance?
I had heard tales of authors claiming that their writing was driven by the voice of the characters they had created. I thought that it was a charming idea, but let's face it, a little wacky. AND THEN, Celeste. I know very well that one of the first rules in writing is WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW! I work earnestly to fulfill this standard. When your story is filled with the passionate joy of words arriving and then being spread across paper, those words need to be from your experience right?
So I begin to write Celeste. Let's see, oh I think I'll make the character from France. That's the idea! Her Father has followed a long generational line of Master Vintner's. In France his chance of ever becoming Master of his OWN vineyard is zero to none. He wishes to travel with his family to the reputedly fertile fields of Oregon to develop his own line of wines.
The family immigrate by ship. While on board all of Celeste's family die. Innocent at 14 she barely can speak English. When she arrives at her families destination she has nowhere and nobody that she knows. She is trapped into sexual slavery.
For those who know me, does that sound like something from my life? I can joyfully announce, NOPE! I have never faced those types of challenges. I pray that I never will.
I was so startled by the first several chapters that I wrote that I put them away. I didn't want to think about any of that awful stuff. I am a firmly avowed "Happy ever after," sort of writer. (Yes I DO know that life doesn't always seem to follow that pattern. That is just when you are looking at life as a finite set of parameters. When you open your mind to the possibility of eternity I firmly believe there WILL BE a "Happy Ever After." The book "Celeste", didn't even seem like it COULD have a "Happy ever after."
One week later I was watching a documentary with my husband. (We loved watching them together). I was stunned to find out that sexual slavery is at an all time high in our world today! People are actually paid to troll the streets of America looking for unsupervised children that are easy prey. HORRIFYING!
I don't believe in focusing on fear. I prefer the practice of faith. Yet it is ever so important that we are educated about the subject of human bondage and sexual slavery. It simply is no longer wise to leave our unsupervised children in the front yard to play. Either we must be with them, or they must be in the backyard.
Children are our future! Where would be if Mozart did not mature into his music? How about Einstein and his mind boggling discoveries. None of us knows what untold greatness the children in this world possess. I forgot to mention one of the greatest losses this world would have known. My beloved parents. They were humble, but they were powerful. They spent their money and lives serving others.
It takes only one heart stopping, tragedy engendering, second to snatch a small child. Please, watch over our children. When I'm in a public place with children giggling and playing all over in front of me, I watch ever so carefully. There will be nobody kidnapped when I'm around!
After watching that documentary I got my Celeste manuscript out and went back to writing. I am now a believer that you can become so invested in a character that you feel as though they are writing the book. Oh not some creepy "channeling" sort of way. I do know that these people are fictional. If I start to talk to you about these people as though they ARE alive, please stage an intervention and get me immediate help!
This book signing day has been an extremely long time in coming. I never believed that it actually would. (I'm working on that insecurity thing of mine). So tomorrow I will be sitting in a comfy chair smiling brightly and hopefully signing many books. What a thrill to have written two books. I have a third novel coming out in the next several months.
My mind is filled with untold stories, and songs. What a joy it is to create!