I’m very pleased to welcome my friend, February Grace, our first guest blogger at The Writing Life.
Writing My Heart
By February Grace
I’m always somewhat taken aback when people ask me why I wrote a particular story; but never before has it been more difficult to explain than it is with my fifth novel, published this month by Booktrope, called WISHING CROSS STATION.
You see, it’s a darker story than ones I’ve told in the past through my novels, and seeing that work, ‘dark’, in the description has given some people who are familiar with my work pause.
Why did I choose to write darker subject matter and tone than on previous projects?
Why did I choose to write a book about a time-traveling college student who gets himself into more than he ever bargained for?
After thinking of possible answers to those questions and especially the first one, “Why?” I realized the answer is incredibly simple.
I wrote my heart.
With each of my books I have written what was in my heart; and I know that’s not exactly what is in style these days, but it is the only way I can write. If I tried to write to market trends or predictions and forecasts then the magic of words; the power that the characters have to take up residence in my soul and dictate their stories to me, would be all but completely lost.
I know what they say about selling books, about branding, about… everything that authors are supposed to be paying attention to these days if they want to be successful.
That brings me to what I have, at the age of 44, come to define as success.
It is something different than I even might have thought it was a year ago; certainly five years ago, if you asked me what being a successful writer meant.
To me, now, being a successful writer is about telling the tales of those in my heart, wherever they may come from (whether from a painting I’ve done, as did Marigold in WISHING CROSS STATION, or from an event in my life that made me experience a certain feeling I needed and wanted to express in fiction in another way.) That way they have their chance at life, their chance to find hearts that will connect to them on a soul-level, even though they happen to be fictional people.
Often, I have found fictional people to be some of the most influential I have ever acquainted myself with.
Stories have power, beyond the words they are comprised of. When the characters really work together, when the strength and wisdom of one quietly offsets the youth and inexperience of another and yet both end up learning something; that is a story I feel is worth telling.
How we deal with life, loss and love in its many variations in life are the stuff of which WISHING CROSS STATION is made; and writing it was a deeply moving and also a valuable, freeing experience for me.
I can’t imagine how I would write if I didn’t write my heart.
It’s the same way when I pick up a paint brush, or a pencil to draw.
It’s the same way when I rearrange the design of my home (my poor husband has to do the actual furniture moving, but I digress) so that the cat can finally have that sunny spot by the small window he has been longing for since the day we moved into this apartment.
I decorate with my heart, just as I do all things.
It may not exactly always turn out to be the trendiest, forward-thinking creation, whatever I end up with; sometimes it may reflect times past in the way that only hindsight can; with perfect, crystal clarity.
Why did I write a ‘darker’ novel like WISHING CROSS STATION?
Because Keigan had a story that I needed to tell, and so did Marigold. Their existence, even if confined to the pages of a book, matters to me.
I hope that if you choose to read and come along with them on their journey, it will matter to you, too. That my heart will speak to yours, and in that one moment of human connection, we will have transcended time and distance itself, souls meeting on an equal plane, no matter who we are or what our place in life may be.
We will have shared something beyond a simple story. We will share, for a little while, the lives of people who came into being because my heart insisted they must; and to me, that is the very best reason of all to write anything.