Thursday, September 1, 2011


Today’s world is a constantly changing, complicated, confusing place. Every day, we’re bombarded with old and new things to worry about and fear. The economy . . . well, that speaks for itself, the constant threat of natural disasters and terrorist attacks, disease, the crime rate, something we eat, drink or come into contact with that could cause cancer; the list goes on and on. And then, of course, there are the everyday personal problems that we all struggle with: aging parents, concerns about our children or grandchildren, issues on our jobs or now, more commonly, not being able to find a job. Health concerns, money worries . . . .

So, when I want to get away from it all and relax by watching TV or reading, I want something that will distract me from reality. I want to escape into a world that isn’t real. That’s why I’m not a fan of "reality" shows. I don’t enjoy watching real people struggle with real problems, publicizing their private lives in front of millions of viewers, exposing themselves to judgment and ridicule. I see and hear enough of the difficulties we all face as I go about my daily life.

That’s one of the reasons that I love to read (and write) fiction; it offers me escape from reality. I can travel to other places, learn new things and meet interesting people. The second that I begin to read, I’m immersed in a fictional world that may, or may not, resemble my own but it’s someone else’s world, someone who doesn’t really exist. And, when I finish a novel, I can rest assured that the author has resolved all of the characters’ major problems and tied up all the loose ends. If only it were that simple in real life!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Write That Novel

A comment on one of my posts reminded me of how I came to finally write my first novel. Laura wrote, “Someday I may be brave enough to write, but I only manage to get so far and then stop.” I understand how she feels because, although I never had a problem writing short stories, the thought of writing a novel overwhelmed me. My dream had always been to write novels but something held me back. A novel! Thousands and thousands of words; a huge commitment of time. Could I even sustain a story for three hundred pages?

I first came up with the idea for Mixed Messages in 1995. I spent the next seven years (yes, you read that correctly) taking notes, doing research and plotting my first novel. Friends and family encouraged me and I wanted to write it . . . but I was stuck; I couldn’t get started. Then, two things happened that both inspired and motivated me. In April 2002, I went to a book signing of Daddy’s Little Girl and got to meet and actually talk with Mary Higgins Clark, the Queen of Suspense. I told her of my “plans” to write a novel. She simply smiled at me and said, “Write that novel!” Then, she wrote those words in my copy of her book and signed it.

I was inspired after hearing Mary’s words but I wasn’t quite there yet. A few months later, I was telling a good friend of mine, Lisa, about my inability to actually start the book and she said something like, “You’re letting the thought of writing a whole book intimidate you. You only need to write one chapter at a time.” And the light came on! Now, all these years later, I have two completed novels and I’ll be embarking on a third soon. I hope that Laura won’t wait as long as I did to “Write that novel!”