Where do the ideas for your books? This is a common question asked of authors by readers and aspiring writers. The answers vary. For myself, the subjects that I’ve addressed in my novels have been retrieved for the pages of my life. The stories aren’t biographical by any means, but they’ve been sparked by things I experienced.
For example, Unfinished Business my first novel, is about a woman addicted to a past love for what she realizes are the wrong reasons. She learns the hard way that this man is no good for her while risking the possibility of a new and true love. My personal experience was I was madly in love with man from my past. I believed that we were soulmates, meant to be together. Even through other relationships (marriages, too), I thought we’d find our way back to each other and live happily ever after. Well, it hasn’t happened yet, and I’m accepting that he’s not the man God has for me. Nevertheless, the idea of being addicted to a man and the havoc that can wreak on a woman life is the story I created.
My second novel, Reconciliation to Hell, is about a married couple who are trying to rebuild their marriage after the husband had habitually cheated on the wife. She endured it because she valued the lifestyle he afforded her and didn’t want to give it up. But as soon as signs from his previous behaviors arise, she realize she doesn’t trust him and she’s done being made a fool of. For this novel, it was the title that was torn from the pages of my life. I’d divorced my first husband after 3 years of marriage, not because he’d done anything wrong, but because my heart was somewhere else (see Unfinished Business). He spent five years telling me he still loved me and that I was at fault for making our family a statistic of the black community–another fatherless home, single mom raising the children. So, after another failed relationship, I caved and reconciled with him. DISASTER! The man had clearly forgotten to tell all of his lady friends that we had remarried. They were calling and all times of the night and he was obviously still dealing with them, which led to our second and FINAL divorce. I shaped the story of Reconciliation to Hell around the married couple introduced in my first books.
I swear my life is so interesting that the ideas just keep coming. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from being open to a new idea, from an unexpected place and time. I was helping a new gentlemen friend clean out his aunt’s apartment who hasn’t lived in the apartment in nearly a year. The family is finally ending the lease and since he’s the only one laid off from work during CVOID–everyone is working from home–he’s stuck with the bulk of the work. Anyway, for the story…
We’re going through the stacks of paperwork and throughout them, there are these letters and cards from this man named Tod (not a typo, Todd spelled with one “d”). They were sent 2016-2018. Some were the holidays and others were just because. One letter included the verbiage, “This is for April”, perhaps rent money or a loan repayment. My guy friend and I laughed and kidded around every time we came across a correspondence from Tod.
“This better not be another letter from Tod,” he’d say. I probed for more of the story about his aunt and Tod. He was obviously someone special to her, and her to him. Dude, I’ll call him, tells me about his aunt having lived in New York for a time before the family moved to Detroit for factory jobs, though she’s a nurse. She met and had a relationship with Tod, during her early 20’s. When she moved to Detroit with her siblings, she and Tod maintained and on again, off again love affair that lasted throughout her adult life.
She and Tod are both in the 80’s now. And he just married sometime in 2018, the last year of any of his correspondence. Questions swirling around my head:
Was the only man who’d captured her heart in 60 years of her life?
Who did the man end up marrying?
Was their love out of convenience or love?
Is she didn’t become afflicted with Alheizmers, would she have responded to him and maybe they would have gotten married?
It’s so many ways this story can go for his aunt and Tod… Only time will tell.