How did I come to write a book?

New Year’s Eve has never been a big holiday in our family. Back when I was a teenager, my folks used to have a party: extended family and the old friends who are like a part of your family.When I think about those parties, I remember only laughter and love. Good memories. Then my parents got older as did their friends and family and no one wanted to be on the road on New Year’s Eve.

Most years my husband and I have stayed home. We get all kinds of snack and finger foods. For years we set them out on the low table where the rest of the year the kids played with their Brio trains. The kids looked forward to our special family party. Just the five of us. It’s our tradition. Mommy usually falls asleep before midnight because seeing the New Year in really isn’t a priority. As far as I’m concerned every morning is the start of a new year where you can start again fresh. Hey I came of age in the seventies. Every day is the start of the rest of your life. It’s a cliche now but that doesn’t make it wrong.

Sure on New Year’s Eve I reflected on what happened over the past year and what I wanted for the next. I used to make resolutions but I’m no better at keeping them than anyone else so I gave that up. I don’t remember any specific thoughts I had last New Year’s Eve. I know I was thankful to be well because I’d been ill most of the fall. And I was looking forward to finishing my first book. Because 2005 was the year I started writing.

I hadn’t resolved on Dec. 31st of 2004 that I would write the novel I’d always wanted to write. I’d put away the desire to write years before because I wasn’t disciplined enough, talented enough, motivated enough. But whenever I finished reading a story I enjoyed, there was this wish deep in my heart. A wish that I could write a book that would move someone to laugh or that would help them escape for a little while the stresses of everyday life. But I wouldn’t. I was fifty years old and you don’t start writing at fifty.

Dec. 31st 2004 I hoped to make a career of selling jewelry at home shows. I was determined that I was going to succeed at that. It was the last in a line of part-time careers I’d thrown myself into. Jobs I could do and still be home with the kids when they needed me. I’d thrown myself into them. Consultant dietitian for doctor’s offices, day cares, restaurant supply companies. Home organizer for the organizationally empaired. That was another career start. Antique dealer. That was an expensive one.

2005 was the year I decided to let my registration as a dietitian lapse. I had a bunch of continuing education credits I needed to earn before May because as usual I’d waited until the last minute. But I didn’t want to be a dietitian any more. I didn’t want to do it. This was a hard decision because I’d spent years studying and working in the field before my kids were born and sporadically after. And I’d been good at it. But that part of my life was done. Even if the jewelry didn’t pan out, I didn’t want to go back. And when I didn’t earn my credits and pay my money, I felt guilty but it was the right decision. And each day that passed made me more sure.

The jewelry thing wasn’t taking off like I’d hoped but September-December were the big sales months and I had built up a small list of hostesses and I planned to beat the bushes for more.

When the kids started back to school, I was reading and rereading Suzanne Brockmann’s old books. I love her books and her characters. I suffer from insomnia and making up stories until I fell asleep had been something I’d done since I was a kid. I used to make up long ongoing stories but the ability to do that disappeared somewhere between child two and child three so I’d do like many avid readers do and think about what happened after the book I’d just been reading ended. Or make up a story for one of the secondary characters.

Suz Brockmann wasn’t the only one I was reading. I was devouring all Lynn Kincaid’s historical/paranormal/timetravel books because they’re fun. And others. Lots of others. Mostly romances for some reason. For years, I’d read mostly mysteries and thrillers along with some romance and science fiction except for some favorite authors like Nora Roberts and Suz Brockmann. But 2005 was the year I dove back into romance, finding new (to me) authors like Linda Howard, Sharon Sala, Julie Garwood and many others.

But I did enjoy the SEALs. It was the team concept and the close ties that spoke to me. Pushing your self to the limit and beyond. Not giving up. Not only enduring but succeeding. And one night I thought what if there was a girl. The daughter of a SEAL brought up in the tight community of her dad’s team. A girl who understood sacrifice and never giving up. The children of people in exciting professions often want to do the same thing. At least when they are small. But women can not be SEALs. I couldn’t get this girl out of my head. And I couldn’t get her story out of my head.

Most stories I’d made up over the years as I waited for sleep had disappeared once I knew what was going to happen. I lost interest when I knew the end. But this girl, and she was a girl, a teenager when the story began. She wouldn’t leave. And neither would the guys she met when she was running for her life.

I didn’t want to go to sleep. I wanted to keep thinking about the story. Who were the guys? Why was she running? Where was her father and what had happened to his team? And what would happen if she ran into this guy, a guy who’d helped her when she was a teenager years later. But he didn’t know who she was and she couldn’t tell him. Why?

I had another way to get rid of the stories in my mind. Try to write them down. Pick up a pen, sit down at the typewriter or now a computer and write Chapter One. It always worked. I’d never gotten to Chapter Two. Most of the time I didn’t reach the end of page one. So one day after the kids got on the bus I sat down and typed Chapter One.

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2 Responses to “How did I come to write a book?”

  1. McB Says:

    So ….

    BOOK DONE YET?

  2. Sheryl Says:

    Robin can’t answer, she’s working on the WODE challenge : )

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