I remember as if it were yesterday, the shock and trauma of going into the “Catheter Lab” at the hospital, to undergo angioplasty, and ending up being rushed in to surgery for a triple by-pass when the intended procedure went south. I awoke in recovery, intubated, and with the dawning realization of what had happened.
I came out of the hospital on Christmas Eve, 2002, with no earthly idea what would happen next. It was a slow and difficult recovery, likely made more so because who I had been—in my own mind—a woman who had always worked, always contributed, no longer existed.
My beloved told me straight off, that I was retired. I even recall how he worded it. He told me that all these years, I not only worked outside the home, but I had borne the burden of dealing with the children and doing nearly all of the housework. “That’s three jobs for more than twenty years which is enough by anyone’s standards.” When I asked him, “I’m only forty-eight. What am I going to do?” he replied as if it was the most logical thing in the world. He said I was going to do what I had always dreamed of doing, and work at being a writer.
Although I made it my goal to do just that, and to become published, I never actually believed it would happen. I knew I would write, and if I had never become published, I would be writing anyway.
Sometimes when I realize the scope of this career I now have, I am overwhelmed. My fortieth book has just been released by my publisher, and my readers number in the thousands. That’s not a boastful statement; it is a statement of awe.
I understand that even though for the first 52 years of my life I was not a published author, I was still a writer. I began writing when I was about 8 or 9, after the death of my father who, I didn’t know at the time, had also been a writer. I’ve often said that being a writer isn’t what I do but who I am. At my core, that is me. It is a definition that can be underlined by the way I view people and events; the way I think about things, which is vastly different than the way my non-writing family thinks and views things.
When you’re a writer at your core, it is to see everyone and everything through a particular prism as a part of the whole, a part that has its own unique story, with patterns and relationships, with hopes and dreams and even tragedies. You see these patterns repeated, time and time again, and are moved to try and communicate them, with the hope of touching people’s hearts.
I don’t mean to make it sound as if I am better than anyone else, because of course I’m not. I’m just me, trundling to the beat of my own obscure drummer. Definitely different, but not better.
Everything I have experienced in my life, for good or ill, has filled my well, the well from which I draw to create my stories. Yes, they are all under the umbrella of romance, and most of them, the smaller umbrella of erotic romance. But they are more than that stark definition, because they are stories about people.
I create fictional characters who deal with real life challenges. My characters aren’t perfect, though they are perfect for each other. But they are flawed, and make mistakes. What sets them apart is that they don’t give up.
Not giving up in life, I have learned through my own unique experiences, is key. And if you don’t give up, then what you end up doing, after you can no longer do what you’ve always done? That, my friends, is when the real adventure and joy of life begins.