I’ve learned so much during the years I’ve been writing Discovery and, over the coming months, I plan to share some of it with you. There are the concrete facts of course, the information gathered and made possible by the internet, and there are the delicious surprises that seem more than coincidental. Then there is what I’ve learned about my friends and family members⎯some of whom were devoted enough to read, and re-read, and figure out how to be encouraging and critical at the same time. Of course, there is the endless amount to be learned about the craft of writing, the pleasure of finding exactly the right word, and creating believable, psychologically sound people who become as intimately known as another human being can be.
Primarily, I’ve learned a lot about myself. For me, writing a novel turns out to be an adventure, not unlike a road trip when all you’re sure about is your destination, but haven’t got a fixed route or time constraints. You might want to stop along the way, or take a detour; you might notice something unexpected that begs for exploration. Writing Discovery has been a journey of the mind, and it’s been my privilege to take that journey.
In the process of telling the story, memories pop up, feelings lost in the past re-emerge, long forgotten smells and sights and sounds connect with places, moments and meaning. Writing and rewriting and editing and rewriting again is a daunting task, which would have felt overwhelming if I had known in advance what I was facing. Fortunately, I didn’t.
What I did know is that I will keep at something with dogged determination and a positive attitude; in other words, I persevere. This characteristic has served me well in life and made up for other deficits and inadequacies, which will remain my secret for now. Some people confuse perseverance with being obsessional, but they are not the same at all. Persevering often requires changing course, finding new solutions and thinking creatively.
So much of what I’ve accomplished in life didn’t come easily, and certainly not on my first attempt. But I keep at it in the belief that if I hit a dead end, get rejected, make a bad choice, pick the wrong husband or career, well, I’ll reassess and do better next time. And I do. Of course, perseverance probably comes more naturally to people who are patient, but I’ve found that even impatient people can persevere. After all, doing something active, keeping at something and trying to come up with alternative solutions always feels better than sitting around feeling helpless.
In Discovery, David, the protagonist of the contemporary love story, is the one who perseveres. He is a complicated man, but one of the things I like best about him is that he isn’t someone who gives up. I suppose the time comes for everyone when they have to face ultimate defeat, when every alternative has been exhausted and acceptance is all that’s left. But so far I haven’t been faced with that situation, although if I can’t find an agent after another 50 query letters get sent out, the time may come.
Traveling to the places visited in Discovery helped to breathe life and truth onto the pages, in addition to a lifetime of other experiences. And now, here it is: a book full of ideas, psychological truths and, I hope, inspiration. Father Saunière was born in April 1852 and died in January 1917. He was a remarkable man who lived life on his own terms and left something beautiful for the ages. David and Giselle find each other in 2012, weather adversity, and through their capacity for insight allow love to overcome, as it should.
Which brings me to love, the most inspiring of emotions. When perseverance is used in the service of love, for others, for yourself, for creativity or the betterment of humanity, I think it becomes its own reward. After all, there’s very little more gratifying than working toward a worthy goal, regardless of the time spent or the struggle. It’s a glorious and proud moment when anyone has the opportunity to say, “I finally did it!”
This is my moment. I hope you read Discovery when it is published, and enjoy it enough to contact me and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, follow my blog. Comments of any kind are welcome.