I’m often surprised by the number of people who ask me where I get my ideas for novels. To me, they come naturally – life experiences, special people, news stories – ideas are everywhere.
For example, the idea for my first novel, Autumn Colors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) came from my own life, although much of the book is fiction.
The year was 2002. It was significant in a number of ways. My husband, Dennis, retired from his career of over three decades. We were building our dream retirement home, a log house on water in the Adirondacks.
It also brought the thirtieth anniversary of the accidental death, in 1972, of my then fiancé – a life-altering event for me. And I was five years past my personal vow to turn my experience of his death into a story about loss and grief – and the sometimes aberrant ways we deal with them. And about why it’s so important to let the important people in our lives know that we care about and love them – because in the blink of an eye that opportunity could be lost forever.
I had started the story so many times. I could still recall, vividly and viscerally, my feelings on that October day and the days that followed. I could re-live the gut-wrenching ache and emptiness. And the anger – at him, at God, at anyone who wasn’t at that moment living with that unbearable pain. The disbelief that I’d never see him again. The thrill when a car pulled up in front of our house, because surely it was him and all this had been but a horrible nightmare.
As the year progressed, and we prepared for our move, we began sorting through boxes and drawers, deciding what to keep and what to toss. It was then that I unearthed my “Paul box,” the box that contained the bits and pieces of our time together and the things we’d shared – the album I created of my memories and emotions, photos, music of that time. And the forgotten journal.
Two months after Paul died, I started writing everything I could remember about him, about our first encounter, about our time together. I think I was afraid, even after such a short time, that those memories would be lost to me over time. And that would be like his dying all over again or – worse – like he had just been a fleeting soul on this earth to begin with.
Finding that journal, with its raw pain mixed with joyful memories, was the catalyst for finding my voice for Autumn Colors.
“This talented author knows how to evoke emotion, so much so that delving into her work hurts….Autumn Colors is an enlightening, though often aching, reflection on young love brought to a catastrophic end and a poignant description of spiritual healing. Expect more from this gifted writer.”
Rated Four Stars (out of Five)
ForeWord Clarion Review