All I've written up until this point is paranormal books, which really is my first love in books. This next book that I'm publishing is a contemporary romance, but that's not all it is. This is a book that touches very close to home.
This book is the journey of a teenage girl who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder...so how is this close to home? I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder when I was 21. This has been a tremendously difficult book to write, not just because it's not paranormal, but because so much of it stirs memories better left in the dark.
I am finding that in writing a book that comes literally out of experience not only has challenged me as a writer but has also helped me grow as a person who lives with this disease. I think that as authors, those with the gift of story telling we have a great privilege of sharing with the world not only our imaginations but also our experiences, our struggles, our joys, pains, loves, failures, and triumphs. We have the ability and the honor of pouring out our souls into the pages of a novel and healing ourselves from the inside out. Is it painful, yes, is it scary, you bet, but I think it is worth it. I would challenge all of you as authors to look at your lives and see what things you have been tested with, what things have caused you to be refined by fire and see if there is a story there. After all what are books for if not for people who are looking for something, whether it be entertainment, escape, healing, or just finding characters to identify with. There is someone out there who has been through something similar to our stories, there is someone out there who needs to know they are not alone in their struggles.
Writing close to home is painful and I have spent many hours at my computer crying over things I can't change, things that are forever stuck in my mind and now poured out onto the pages of a novel that I pray someone will find some sort of encouragement from. It's still fiction, but that's the greatest part of fiction, we can put our own experiences in them, and find a sense of closure without ever really having to say this was my pain, or this is what I dealt with. The great thing is you wind up with very real characters and readers who greatly identify and connect with those characters.
I hope that all of you at some point write a book that even if fiction, helps you heal some area in your life that has maybe been a wound and by doing so help someone who is going through what you have already survived.