When I wrote my first novel, I was elated. It was in 1997, and I wrote it in under four months. I had always dreamed of writing a novel but always seemed to find excuses not to sit down and just write it. After a life-altering event, I re-evaluated my life and what I wanted to accomplish. One thing that I always wanted to do was write a novel. Actually, many novels. Becoming a writer when I retired was a long-held dream, but I was forced to reassess that long-term goal. I told myself, “If I don’t write the novel now, I may never write it. Life is too short to not follow my dreams.” That set in motion my dream of writing my first novel.
I had some ideas for a novel, but one idea lingered in my mind for days after I made the decision to write the novel. I wanted to explore an abused woman and the complexities of love and betrayal resulting from that abuse. I already had a character in mind that would be my protagonist. She was a tough woman, proud but angry and bitter, and she would endure some unbelievably distressing incidents in her life. I wanted to capture her spirit on paper and convey to the reader why she was a survivor.
As I decided on my protagonist, it wasn’t difficult to pepper the novel with other colorful characters to bring the story to life. To create convincing characters, I drew from characteristics of people I knew, their personalities, their special nuisances, and their quirkiness to make the story interesting and believable. I wanted the characters to ring true with my readers. I wanted the readers to care for the characters. I wanted the readers to want to get to know the characters, get inside their worlds, and feel their pain and sorrow.
After completing the novel, I felt I had achieved my first goal as a writer: to get the work down on paper. I did. I spent several more months tweaking the novel and making changes here and there until I felt I had said all I could say a