In a recent press release, I talk about the strong connection that I feel toward this novel, but even that doesn't fully explain my emotional connection to this nnovel and the main characters.
I started writing this novel in junior high (middle school) with just a rough outline of one scene that ended up getting cut out of the story all together. It was during that time that I came up with the characters and fleshed them out while listening to the radio and watching MTV.
The first real draft was done in high school, which was perfect since the novel starts while the two main characters are still in high school. Those first few chapters that centered on that time in the characters lives had a realism that the rest of the story lacked at the time.
I completed the second and third drafts right after my first marriage fell apart. I didn't change anything about the first chapters, but worked instead on the rest of the story. I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but the character of Sarah and I had similar emotional reasoning at that point in the story and at that point in my life. Ihe phrase cutting off your nose to spite your face comes to mind.
So now here I am at the fourth and final edit. I'm widowed and starting over again at 37. I pulled out the novel again and guess what? The early chapters are spot on, the middle of the book has the anger and raw emotion that it needs to transition, and now again, in the final chapters, emotionally the character and I are in the same place.
Now, when I say that this book has consumed my life, understand that it actually represents many phases of my life and is much more personal that any of my other work. Even though the character and I have lives that are totally different, ours have been entangled from that first moment that she came to mind from the lyrics of a Meatlloaf song.