* Is “A Ring, A Dance, A Second Chance” based on your own life?
Certainly the story line was based on an a real incident and my target audience was based on self observations, the changing expectations we have for our lives and our extended life span; however, the story is a melding of ideas, beliefs, experiences--observed and lived. Thus it is fiction.
* Who is your favorite Character?
Katie was my favorite character because I identify with her: I saw her change from a woman who never quite stepped out of the shadow of her husband, nor did she totally let go of the cultural expectations that helped define her. Taylor’s call brought excitement and energy into Katie’s life, and also a fear that letting him into her life again could be disruptive.
Katie made the decision to see Taylor, because she wanted to; however, she also continued to express her independence by letting Taylor know what she wanted and she redefine what it meant to be a wife. This was a learning experience for Katie: she realized that whatever she did meant change. In the story, when Katie embraced change she gained a sense of comfort and competency and was able to assert her preferences, raise issues, and take equal responsibility for the decision she and Taylor made as a couple.
* Have you always wanted to write a book?
I have authored academic books and published academic materials but I had never written a novel—but had always “dreamed” I would. When I started this novel my main interest was to learn how to write a novel, to understand the creation of characters, and find a story that, when written, could depict truth more clearly than reality. Writing this novel was a labor of love, a learning experience and total enjoyment.
* Do you have plans to write more?
Now that I have this first novel written and am in the midst of book event and interacting with the reading public, I’ve enjoyed another phase of the writing process and I keep learning about myself. I’ll keep following my passion, so at this point I am beginning to think about writing a sequel, and I’ve been asked to do so by quite a few individuals who have read my book.
Three things I learned from writing this book:
1) Viewing the experience as a whole, I learned that writing a novel in my senescence (I’m 82) was as easy—and as difficult—as writing a publishable book length document at any age. . One of the interesting experiences I had as I wrote this novel was that I dug deep and used my own feelings/reactions to identify with and feel, and then describe what was going on. In that sense, I was my own lab.
2) “Show, don’t tell” was the most difficult concept I gleaned from the advice of successful writers and teachers; also, “show, don’t tell,” was the most valuable concept that I struggled to master.
3) Finding a story idea from my own developmental issues and creating characters to tell the story was an amazing and enriching experience. My developmental issues were those common to women approaching midlife: this story captures the emotions of Katie’s and Taylor’s reunion, more than forty years after high school. As they revisit their sweet memories of first love, and flirt with the fantasy of what might-have-been, the two widows fan the embers of love and talk about the possibility their future stretching out into a couple more decades and they worry about the reality of what it means to their adult children for their parent to pursue a significant relationship and create a new family.