My new author website is up and running, thanks to hours of work and experimenting on behalf of my husband. And I love the result! He surpassed my expectations, and I'm very lucky for it. Thank you, Paul.
The site is really meant to promote my forthcoming book, Plum Blossoms in Paris, to people who don't know of it, or me, but I also had the opportunity to prattle on about how Paris has influenced my writing. And to post an excerpt of the book for those who are interested.
Murmurs stays right here. While I will occasionally write blog posts on the other site, they will revolve around the novel. I want Murmurs to remain a creative outlet primarily, and not a marketing mechanism. With the exception of this post, of course. Ahem.
Just for today, though, I will cross-post my first site entry here, too:
Prelude to a Story
I wrote my first story while I was in medical school.
Buried by exams and gross anatomy during my second semester, and unable to shake the cloud of formaldehyde that hung over me, I sought solace in that other half of my brain. The neglected half. It’s no wonder that my first story’s title would be “A Season For Dreams.” I was sorely lacking in them. But storytelling was a new experience for me, and it was hard. Not pathophysiology hard, no. But a different kind of hard. I was exercising muscles that had atrophied since the imaginative ballets we all stage in childhood. And I took tentative, baby steps at first. But I finished the story, and I enjoyed the process. The immersion. It breathed new life into my tired hours.
Then I put the thing aside, and forgot all about it. After all, writing was something other people did. It was something my fiancé, Paul, did. Me?
I was a reader.
And, as it turns out, I was something else. I was not a doctor. I quit medical school after one year, and considered myself lucky to escape with $20,000 in outstanding loans. At least I owned my freedom and peace of mind. At least I hadn’t had the chance to botch a diagnosis. My new husband and I settled in my hometown of Athens, Ohio. I got a job in a lab (more stinky formaldehyde). We got a dog. I got pregnant. Bing-bam-boom.
Writing returned to me after the birth of our daughter. Like so many new parents, I felt lost inside my own skin. While I loved our baby girl intensely, I needed a refuge. Something to call my own. I started writing a novel titled Holiday. And when I finished it a year later, I was lighter in the soul. And hungry for more.
Plum Blossoms in Paris came to me during the summer months of 2005. I wanted to write a book in the same spirit as the film, Before Sunrise, with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. A story about two people who were right for one another in every way, but who met in the wrong time and place. Instead of Vienna, I chose Paris as a backdrop. And I didn’t know my ending when Daisy first set foot on those cobblestone streets. I hoped for the best for her and Mathieu, but I couldn’t guarantee anything. I would see where they led me. And be swept up in their romance for over a year.
And boy, did I miss them when it was all over. I still miss them on occasion. Old characters are a bit like ghosts who’ve decided to haunt other people. You kind of wish they’d come around more often. Rattle some chains. Breathe a few more secrets into your ear.
Long story (very, very) short, the novel was eventually picked up by Medallion Press for publication in August, 2010. My jubilation on receiving that news was profound, and still lingers. It was a season for dreams, once more. My heart swells to think of other people picking up my book, and slipping into the world I’ve created. I was a reader, foremost. That was my passion growing up. And it’s still my first love.
But has anything else changed in my switch from “writer” to “author?” No. Maybe that’s premature to say, and perhaps I’m glossing over the busy (and discomfiting) work that comes with promoting your own novel, but I still say, “no.” I never started writing with the goal of becoming an author. I started writing because it was a precious escape from the burdens of expectation. And to a certain extent, that’s changed. Yes. But that’s because I started demanding more from myself. In prose and poetry. Blog posts, too. If I couldn’t be satisfied with what I’d written, how would anyone else be? And how in the heck would I fall asleep at night?
Writers are pretty self-indulgent creatures for the most part. We write what moves us. We write to reflect, and transcend, reality. We write to communicate who we are. To stake a legacy.
And yes. We also write to connect with others.
So thank you for reading.
I hope you enjoy my story.