I just looked back and realized that it’s been over two months since I posted Part 2 of this series. Well, the theme is journeys, after all, and the last two months have been a whirlwind! More later.
So there I was, through high school and college, where my more creative writing had given way to scholarly pursuits. I married my one true love a few months after I turned twenty, and together we went to Hawaii, where we lived for about five years while he served his first tour in the Army.
While we were there, our first two daughters were born. New motherhood consumed most of my life, but I always kept a folder where I jotted down story ideas, plot lines and character names. Sometimes, if I were up late rocking a baby or doing the most mundane housework, I would spin chapters in my head. But few of those made it onto paper. I managed a few short stories, which I shared with my mother and grandmother, since they were mostly for their benefit. I liked to write little vignettes that captured some emotion or family dynamics. Well, you write what you know. . .
After we left Hawaii, we moved to Wisconsin. Yes, you read that right. From the land of Aloha to the land of. . .snow. Dark. Cheese. There really wasn’t much writing, but it definitely influenced me. (An early draft of FEARLESS featured Tasmyn’s days in Wisconsin before she and her family moved to Florida.)
We moved back to New Jersey a few months before my mother-in-law died of lung cancer. Losing a parent, even one by marriage, is a devastating event. I wrote a few more short stories that were largely informed by that loss. But beyond that, my writing energy was consumed by editing our church newspaper, and eventually, stretching out into some new non-fic areas. In the early days of the wider use of the internet, I fell into a group of fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, writing a column on Buffy fashion for an ezine.
As the web became more a part of our daily lives, I started writing for homeschooling groups, parenting blogs (when they developed) and other venues where I could use my particular area of expertise. By this time, we had four children, so that was definitely my area!
And all during this time, it goes without saying that I was reading as voraciously as ever. Since reading makes good writing, I look at that as the best prep ever.
In 2006, our annus horribilis began. We lost my dad, who had battled multiple myeloma for five years. My husband took a job in Florida, although the kids and I would remain in NJ so that our oldest daughter could finish high school. And then my mother was diagnosed with leukemia. She passed one week shy of the year anniversary of my father’s death, just a few weeks before we moved to Florida.
It was a devastating year, one that I never wish to relive. But at the same time, it was shaping me into the person I needed to become and preparing me for the next step on the journey.