I’m a reader, too. From the moment I figured out D-O-G spelled dog, I tasted a little bit of everything, from the “Cat in the Hat” to Nora Roberts to Christine Feehan and Ken Follett. Interesting that those are all Penguin books, isn’t it?
I admit that until recently I never really thought about the process of writing those books. They were simply there. Worlds and people magically appeared just so I could experience them.
To me, reading the final sentence of a favourite book has always been the most bittersweet agony possible. When I delve into a truly great book, when I lose myself to adventure, I devour every paragraph, agonize over what the main character did or didn’t do, occasionally force myself to put the book down so I can reacquaint myself with my family ... and then it’s over. The End.
So I made up a remedy for that. I wrote my own book.
When our daughters were little, I had little time for reading, let alone writing. Then one day, I believe when my eldest was about 9, my mother loaned me “Outlander”, by Diana Gabaldon. I was swallowed up and fell headfirst into the wild romance of 18th century adventure. All of a sudden I wanted to learn everything about that period in time. I dreamed of kilts. I bought bagpipe recordings. I dug into my Graham/Ferguson roots and nagged my husband about visiting Scotland. I volunteered with the Highland Games and even tried to learn Gaelic. I admit ... it got a wee bit ridiculous.
Then one day, I sat down and started to type. The story of Maggie and Andrew was like a river, sweeping me along with it, though I admit I got caught on a few rocks along the way as I researched the period. I cried when they hurt and fell deeply in love with my hero. My characters were unpredictable and demanding, popping up in my head and making me pull over to take notes.
Maggie’s strength, her power possessed my thoughts. Her “gift” was both a blessing and a nightmare, and though she seemed fated for despair, she never surrendered to the temptation to give up. In all the world, only Andrew could have been her equal, and his courageous journey to find her made me marvel.
The last page of a book is still bittersweet, whether I’m reading or writing. Fortunately, an author can choose to go on with another story, even if it might focus on new characters ... Andrew’s fearless brother, perhaps?
What did I learn from the experience of writing? I learned that I’d been right all along. Stories are magical. They come from somewhere special that I still haven’t been able to pinpoint. If a novel can move you, if it can make you race to the finish, yet grieve the reading of that final line, they have fulfilled their purpose.
I hope UNDER THE SAME SKY does that for you.