Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Monday, September 22, 2014

And yes, I admit to being pretty much afraid of everything

I've got a new book coming out soon, hopefully in October if I can get through the final edits and let it go. It's a novel, Afraid of Everything, and you can see here the cover and summary, followed by a little story on how the idea came to me.

Helena Carr is afraid of everything. After a crisis at work, she quits her job and feels lost. It’s time for a serious change, to beat the extreme anxiety that has plagued her since childhood. Something different, unplanned and radical. Sell her house, move to a foreign location, turn her life upside down in an effort to end the emotionally paralyzing fear. 

Before Helena can act on her options, however, she has a terrible accident on a Southern California freeway. Instead of going on an exotic vacation, she is in a hospital, in a coma, traveling to strange worlds of another dimension, meeting people who seem to know more about her than she knows about herself.

As Helena explores this intriguing new world, she realizes the truth about her past and the purpose of her future. And she is no longer afraid. Helena is at last ready to live. But first, she must wake up from the coma.

This idea came to me shortly after I finally admitted to myself I was afraid of practically everything.  Anything I accomplished in life came after first facing the horrible anxiety that preceded it. I have little tricks for getting past my fears. But I won't go into that or I'd have a series of posts instead of a single one.

One particularly anxiety-plagued day I was laying in bed, curled under the covers, imagining what it would feel like to be in a coma.

I thought of a woman, afraid of everything, who ends up in a coma and finds it a place of comfort rather than pain. In fact, it is an escape from the pain of living. I imagined her experiencing a transitional place, a spirit world, where she learns things and grows as a result. This was the kernel of the idea that grew into my novel.

It's been a lot of fun to write, refreshing and healing actually, and difficult to let go of at the end. I think I'll do an official blog tour for this one, probably through Women on Writing. However, if anyone would like an electronic ARC for review purposes, let me know in the comments and I'll get you one.

Afraid of Everything is available for pre-order on the WiDo Publishing website and Amazon. And on Goodreads here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Truth about Foreshadowing

In a novel, foreshadowing are those little hints the writer includes early on, previous to plot twists or big events. It's the foreshadowing that makes the reader say, "Oh yes, this makes perfect sense!"

Or let's say your child's favorite toys are cars, and when he is 12 and goes to get fitted for glasses and notices a sharp sports car parked in the optometrist's parking space he says, "I'd like to be an eye doctor and afford a car like that." You aren't surprised when this child decides in college to use his biology degree to go on to optometry school. Foreshadowing is how parents get to be so smart.

I used to tell my kids I had eyes in back of my head, and when they were little they believed it. I remember one little boy lifting my hair up just to check. When really it was me the English major paying attention to the compressed foreshadowing in daily life. And it's easy with kids since they leave their clues all over the place.

 Remember the South African giraffe on my blog header several years ago?

A giraffe, coming down the mountain like I was, the writer leaving her solitude and isolation to enter the community of bloggers. I thought it was why I felt the giraffe represented me and my blog.

Until I realized it was more than that. The giraffe was foreshadowing my hidden desire to go exploring in the great big wide world.

Another bit of foreshadowing:

My husband and I would seek out different kinds of restaurants in the Salt Lake area, ones that made us feel outside our usual circle. We'd sit by the window, look outside and I'd say, "This doesn't even look like Salt Lake. Let's pretend we're someplace else." And we'd talk about where else we'd like to be. Italy, or the South of France, or England. Although to be truthful, Utah in its greenest seasons never looks like any of those places.

When we announced our plans to sell everything and move to Guatemala, anyone paying attention to foreshadowing had to know it made perfect sense.