Joyce Elferdink for Marta’s Blogroll
A writer’s focus, according to Gary D. Schmidt, author of numerous award-winning children’s books, comes when we find and attend to that question that stirs us and leads us to write stories that say to the reader: “Why don’t you try this?”
After hearing him speak, I asked myself why do I write? I couldn’t answer that question until I came to terms with why I haven’t written. Even that must be clarified: I have always written, but never even thought of writing a book until I started writing Pieces of You. I wrote in a journal as a child, but it was primarily about my parents’ arguments. Then I took up journal writing again as a divorced adult, writing primarily about my relationships, but my second husband destroyed that book.
I wrote for work—annual reports, marketing material, curriculum, and other such works required of a bank manager, economic development director and then college instructor. I remember a former boss commanding me to write a book while in the Peace Corps.
I did not. I had nothing to say.
Yes, I had many amazing experiences while in Kazakhstan and while living a life that was never the typical fairy tale. But I didn’t find the inspiration to share what my experiences taught me…until faced with a friend’s death.
When the model for my protagonist died unexpectedly, I had lots of questions: Where was he? Why did he have to die just when our relationship was becoming something very special? Why did we even meet? (After all, we were miles apart.) To answer some of those questions, I had to do considerable research, soul searching, and . As I detected answers, I began writing his story—or what I believe could be his story.
Why do I write? More specifically, why did I write my first novel at 60 something? I finally have something to say. When I faced my haunting questions, I found some incredible answers. But most of all, I wrote this one to recover pieces of him.