|The final typed manuscript beside an ARC (advanced reader copy).|
Since a lot of people ask me about the writing process, I thought that what I'd do over the next month is to take you through my writing process. (It's different for everyone, and probably for every story.)
As a writer, I draw a lot on my personal experiences, and this book is no different. This book sprang directly from two experiences in my life. Today, I'm going to talk about the first experience. This was the one that I started thinking about and then shelved for a bit. And that was, the birth of my son.
My husband and I went through years of infertility before I became pregnant without any medical intervention. We were thrilled. We had spent years longing for a child only to be told that it would never happen. Yet here I was, pregnant.
|My son the day he was born.|
That joy was short-lived. When I was six months pregnant, I went into pre-term labor and was hospitalized. For two weeks, doctors were able to stop my labor, but then my son's heart rate dropped and they were forced to do an emergency c-section. My son was delivered ten weeks early. He was so tiny he fit in the palm of my husband's hand.
Despite his early birth, my son was fine. I wasn't so lucky. While they were delivering my son, doctors discovered that I had developed peritonitis and was in multi-system organ failure. I was put on life support and my family was told that I wouldn't make it.
Obviously, I survived, and I was later diagnosed with Crohn's disease. I spent a total of six weeks in the hospital and endured numerous medical procedures before I was discharged.
|The first time I held my son. He was about 1 week old.|
It took months for me to recover (both physically and psychologically) and during that time, I started thinking: What if my story hadn't had such a happy ending? What if instead of Crohn's, I had been diagnosed with a disease that isn't manageable? How would a child handle growing up knowing that their birth had caused their mother's illness?
That question was the genesis for Peculiar Miracles. As new mother, I worried that my son would grow up carrying guilt that he had somehow "caused" me to become sick. More than anything, I didn't want him to feel that way. I didn't want him to be the kid with the sick mom. Writing is the way I process life, so I suppose it was only normal that I turned to writing in this case also.
However, I didn't start writing the novel at this point. I had to learn how to be a mom and how to live with this disease. So I put the novel idea aside. It wasn't until two years, when later that the story would truly come to life. And that's what I'll cover next time...