It took many years for me to comprehend what kind of writer I wanted to be when I grew up.
I imagined myself another Sue Monk Kidd, stories that reflect real life. (The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair). But what should I write about? I didn’t live in North Carolina; and until I moved to Florida four years ago, I didn’t even know what an egret looked like.
“Write what you know,” the saying goes, “and what you don’t know research.” All well and true. However, how could I write with authority on topics far removed from my knowledge base?
How do I develop stories that will tickle the imagination and yet be genuine?
I examined the various facets of my life, for example:
… my career that encompassed twenty-five years of human services
… my passion to encourage the broken
… my love of the mountains
… my interest in spiritual warfare
… my love of history
… my sense of humor
… my love for literary devices such as personification and symbolism
… my enjoyment of people watching (aren’t all writers a tad voyeuristic?)
Taking the above into consideration, I was finally able to develop my brand, what I refer to as blended contemporary; a genre that incorporates character-driven stories using humor, romance, historical references, and often a touch of the ethereal.
For plot ideas, I drew from my personal exploration of the Adirondack area, my community involvement, as well as my spiritual experiences. But the largest influence in my storytelling has been derived from my experiences as a caseworker. Hey, you can take the social worker out of the courthouse, but you can’t take the social worker out of the woman!