If you'd told me nearly thirty years ago that I'd still be writing, I wouldn't have believed you. In the early days of my career, I actually believed I might run out of ideas! I thought publishers would stop buying my books and readers would move on to the next good thing.
The truth is this: I will never live long enough to write all the stories I want to tell. I will never tire of opening a brand new document then typing the title and my name underneath. My children and grandchildren will have to pry the keyboard from my cold dead hands. And why? Why do I pursue a lonely profession day after day, year after year? I do it all for love of the story.
Stories come to me many different ways. They can come in a dream, a memory, a song. They can come from an incident I've witnessed or fly off the page of a non-fiction book I'm reading. Such a small thing, this tiny idea, and yet I grab hold and start typing as if my hair is on fire. I put characters on the page and fall in love with a story, all over again.
My latest novel, The Language of Silence, sprang to life when I discovered a non-fiction book about Mabel Stark, the first female big cat trainer. Shortly after I read about Mabel, the circus came to my hometown (no coincidence there, just a bit of magic), and I got to interview a charming, ancient woman who actually remembered when Mabel was with Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey.
Mabel inspired Lola, who brought with her a whole host of characters: a granddaughter caught in domestic violence with nowhere to turn, a sister longing to know if Lola got away Scott free with murder, a beat-up old big cat trainer whose secrets are eating him alive, a circus owner who founded a dynasty of equestrians and is determined to die under the Big Top.
Oh, I LOVE this story! Publisher's Weekly calls it "magical," and fans across the country are telling me what this story means to them. In The Language of Silence, I tackle a serious issue: spousal abuse. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Fear keeps many of these women silent. I spoke for them. I gave my abused characters hope, and then I gave them wings to fly away to freedom. If any of my readers identify with Lola and her granddaughter Ellen, I want them to grow wings, too. I want them to fly to the nearest shelter and speak out.
Thank you so much for stopping by to chat. One person who comments on this post today will receive a signed copy of The Language of Silence.
The REALLY BIG NEWS, though, is that all this month you've been leaving comments on the posts of my most wonderful Southern Magic sisters! Boy, what a treat we have in store for you! A Kindle Fire to the grand prize winner, announced TODAY!
Also, you’ve seen our posts about the fabulous Readers Luncheon, hosted by Southern Magic. New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day will be the guest speaker. Each attendee will receive a bag of books plus author swag, sit at the table with one or two published authors and have a chance to win baskets full of goodies! It’s like early Christmas! To register for the luncheon, go to http://southernmagic.org/luncheon.html