When I finished my last book, I tried to convince myself that my next one should be lighter. Why not try to write a simple romance? Girl meets girl, girl falls in love, and then lives happily ever after. Hawaii would be the perfect setting, right? Warm weather, sandy beaches, yummy food and beautiful women in love would fill the pages. I absolutely love to read romance novels. They leave me feeling content and hopeful. I’m so appreciative of the countless wonderful books out there that are simply and beautifully written about romance. The world really needs a lot more love. Romance novels have a big place on my book shelves.
“Step Into the Wind,” on the other hand, was emotionally and mentally exhausting to write. There were days when it left me feeling depressed after having immersed myself in the subject of mental illness while creating the story. At the time, I had to write it though. I needed to look into that abyss in order to understand it better. I’ve discovered, after many years of dealing with my own anxiety and depression, that the best way to learn how not to be afraid is to face the things I’m most afraid of head-on. It’s also how I find solutions and move forward. I hoped that with “Step Into the Wind” I could do more than just tell a story about a woman’s emotional and mental suffering, but show how she finally learned to overcome it, and be happy. Romance, of course, was also part of the story, but only secondary. I am and always will be a romantic at heart. I’m also a realist. Life is messy, and so are we.
That’s why my next book is not going to be a simple romance either. I’m not ready to reveal the full scope of the subject matter yet. It’s sort of like when a woman first learns she’s pregnant. She’s hesitant to let the world know until she’s pretty sure that the baby is well on its way to being born. What I can say is that I’m learning much from the research and I’m already starting to feel the tug of that abyss. The abyss, to me, is a cavernous well of human messiness and emotion that drives us to be who we are in the world. It’s raw, real, good, evil, kind and terrible, our collective human yin and yang. It’s like walking along the edge of the Grand Canyon. Looking into it makes my knees weak, but I can’t help myself. I have to glimpse into it. There’s so much to learn and say about the things I see within its expanse. The subject that I’ll be tackling is daunting and dangerous. Passions run high over the subject, and I suspect there are many landmines that I could easily step into along the way. But, I don’t write to please other people or stay safe. I write in hopes that I’ll learn something about myself and the world. The icing on the cake is getting to share what I’ve learned with other people through the story that I create, and then they actually like it. The reality is that some do, and some don’t. I’m totally okay with that because it’s also a learning opportunity, every bit of it. My desire is to continue to always learn to be a better writer, and speak from my heart about the things that move me no matter how scary the subject. I’m ready to step back into the abyss, learn what I can, and hopefully say something that matters.
Thanks to all of my fellow authors for the wonderful stories that you tell. You inspire me when you step into the abyss. Authors who aren’t afraid to fail or write about the uncomfortable stories from the abyss are among my favorites. Keep creating.