When I started “It Began With a Lie,” the timing was anything but convenient.
It was March of 2015. If you’ve been following my Writing Journey series, you’ll notice that was roughly midpoint between when I sat in ICU alone with my mother, convinced it was her last day on earth, and when she actually did pass on June 30, 2015.
When I look back at that (roughly) ten months of time, it feels like a grace period. My mother was alive, but quite sick, and I think deep down we all knew it was just a matter of time.
I hadn’t written any fiction in eight years. I hadn’t even looked at the two novels I had completed years earlier (“The Stolen Twin” and “Mirror Image“), much less published them. My book-writing focus (such as it was) was being poured into writing my nonfiction Love-Based Copy books.
Writing fiction was the last thing I felt I had the time or energy for. Yet I found I just couldn’t shake the mantra I had repeated over and over at my mother’s bedside:
I’m not going to die with my books inside me.
That March, Becca (the main character in “It Began With a Lie”) began to follow me around. Then she began talking to me.
At first, her voice was quiet, barely a whisper, but it soon grew louder and more incessant.
Write my story.
It had been years since my fictional characters had trailed me, asking (or demanding) me to write their stories. When I had decided it was too painful to keep writing fiction, I had shut off that part of me, refusing to listen to my characters’ pleas. Their voices because softer and softer until, eventually, they disappeared altogether.
It was easier that way, I told myself.
But, even then, I knew I was lying.
Finally, I sat down, opened a new word document, and started writing.
It was dreadful. I couldn’t reach Becca at all.
It took weeks and a half-dozen false starts before I even felt the beginnings of a connection with Becca. And even then, it was still an uphill battle as I slowly, painfully, shook the rust off, and taught myself to write fiction again.
It wasn’t an easy journey. I’ve lost count of how many times I stopped and started again. I couldn’t tell you the number of rewrites (MAJOR rewrites) and hair-pulling moments I went through.
But, looking back, I see how necessary all of it—every step of the experience—really was. It was exactly what I needed to get myself back on my writer’s path.
I think that’s one of the reasons I named the town where the story takes place “Redemption” … because it represents my own fiction-writing redemption, too.
You can check out “It Began With a Lie” right here.