Wednesday, February 23, 2011
They Told Me to Write A Book about It, So I Did
We are told to write what we know, which I’ve done a lot of over the years. I’ve written stories about grieving teenage girls who lost their mothers to cancer. That happened to me when I was 14. As a kid I wrote a Scooby-Doo type mystery. I’ve loved mysteries my entire life. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Murder at the Pentagon, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, and more. I’ve read them and keep reading them. Scooby-Doo was a never missed cartoon on Saturday mornings while growing up, and thanks to the Cartoon Network I can still watch those meddling kids and their dog uncover clues and solve crimes.
But one thing I believe we all know more about than anything else is our family. We can tell you what we don’t like about each person; share all the annoying things they did to us over the years; talk about how years later we’ve reconciled our differences—or not.
My family has changed a lot in the years since my mother’s death. There have been marriages and divorces, births and deaths, and arguments and reconciliations. There are certainly some wild stories in there. When I talk to my friends about things my family did (sometimes I even get brave enough to share things I’ve done) the reaction is usually the same, “You should write a book about all this.”
The first manuscript I completed after embarking on my writing career was a story of three adult sisters who grew up in a dysfunctional household run by their ex-Marine father and neurotic mother. The sisters had remained rivals throughout the years. When the youngest sister is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the sisters struggle to push aside their differences and work toward becoming supporters of each other, and hopefully friends.
I co-authored this story with one of my sisters. It’s close in many ways to the relationship I’ve had with my two older sisters; though there’s a heavy amount of fiction mixed in to make it an engaging read—and to make sure we’re all still speaking with each other if it ever gets published.
The Sisterhood, as we titled it, is a story that is close to my heart. I hope that we get a chance to polish it and submit it to an agent one day.
Little Shepherd came out in August of last year. I hadn’t planned on starting out as a writer for children, but again, I write what I know. As a life-long lover of books and the mother of three, I know a bit about children’s stories.
What do you know about that you could turn into a story?
The majority of this article originally appeared at Fodder for Fiction on October 5, 2010.