Like most writers, I read voraciously. And like most people who love to read, my choice of reading material has changed over the years. My first love is and always will be fiction. However, although I used to devour novels filled with tragic events that sometimes led to even more tragic endings, I find myself passing them by these days in favor of novels that leave me feeling – do I dare say it?--hopeful. Does that mean I prefer living in denial sometimes, rather than face the harsh realities none of us can avoid in this unpredictable, crazy and often cruel world?
The answer, I’m proud to say, is yes. But there’s a caveat – and it’s a big one. No matter what I’m reading (and it usually turns out to be commercial fiction and sometimes romance) I’m willing to make many leaps of faith to believe a plot that might seem unrealistic or downright silly at times when the story is well written and has a protagonist I can believe in, root for and – most important of all – relate to. (Sorry about that preposition at the end of the sentence but after all, this is my blog so I feel like I can break a few grammar rules every now and then.)
Looking back now, I can see it was my yearning for novels that leave me feeling happy – or at least not suicidal -- that propelled me to write my own novel, PROJECT EX. I also felt a growing sense of outrage that “mature” women (i.e., women over 50) were rarely the protagonists of the novels I wanted to read. Or if they were central characters, they were often depicted as dowdy or dependable or depressed. And so I created a protagonist who’s lived half a century and managed to maintain not only her sense of humor and her sense of style but her shapely tush as well. A protagonist whose romantic misadventures show you can be clueless about love at any age.
I’ve written the story I set out to write. I can’t even begin to describe the joy that the process of writing it has brought into my life. I have a manuscript that used to be a first draft and then became a second draft and then, many, many drafts later, became a novel. But it’s not really a novel until it’s published. I’m moving on to the next phase but the journey continues. I hope you’ll join me along the way….