Some of you know that since I retired two and a half years ago, I’ve been working on a novel inspired by my grandparents’ lives and the discoveries I’ve made about them and their extended families through my genealogy research. Well, I finally put my “pen” down and decided to call it done.
It’s been an exciting process for me because ever since I learned to read, I’ve wanted to write a novel. All through my career when I was writing long, boring articles for law journals, I wished that instead I was writing a novel. Novels have been my refuge all my life. I love being transported to different times and places and seeing into the hearts and minds of all kinds of characters. I just wanted a chance to try to create some characters of my own. When I retired, I promised myself that I would give it a try.
One friend reprimanded me when I said I was trying to write a novel. She said, “Don’t say that. Say you are writing a novel.” I was and am insecure about the whole thing. I never took a fiction writing course, participated in a writing workshop, or wrote any fiction at all, not since I wrote stories as a young child. What did I know?
My only sources of information about writing a novel were all the novels I’d read starting when I read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White when I was eight years old. That book transported me in ways that changed the way I felt about reading. I cried so hard (spoiler alert) when Charlotte died. And she was just a spider! A fictional spider! How had the author made her so real and moved me to care so much?
Now that I’ve written my own novel, I am even more in awe of the many great authors whose books have moved me so deeply. I am humbled by what those authors were able to do with words, and thus I feel presumptuous trying to promote my own book, despite my friend’s reprimand.
But it was a labor of love—love for family and love for the magic of the written word. I wrote this book for my children and grandchildren so that they would have a taste of what their ancestors’ lives were like. I had lots of help and inspiration from my family and friends, as I acknowledge at the end of the book. And so despite this aching feeling of insecurity, I do want to share and promote my book so that others will also know the story I’ve created about my grandparents—grounded in fact, but expanded upon by my imagination.
If you do read it, I’d love your feedback. Thank you!