Okay, it may be considered a “July” novel, but today is publication day for No River Too Wide.
This is akin to waking your husband in the middle of the night and explaining that it’s time to go to the hospital because the baby is about to make an appearance. We never really know how either will turn out, but at that moment we are nothing but hopeful it will turn out well.
I’ve just mailed out my June newsletter, with more information and a giveway to thank my newsletter subscribers. If you’re not on my mailing list, you can join from almost any page on my website or here. Putting out the information takes lots of time, so today for my blog I’m sharing something I wrote several months ago, the inspiration for No River Too Wide, which is available on my website book page, too. I wanted you to know some of the reasons I chose to write this novel.
A concerned reader once emailed to ask if I wrote about the abuse of women so frequently because I am an abused wife myself. I was stunned by the question until I began to add up all the times I had tackled this issue on one level or another. And suddenly, I could see her point.
I grew up with a mother who told me that if a man ever lifted his hand to her, he would only have do it once, because she would leave him immediately. Although in retrospect I’m not sure she would have, I like to believe that I learned that lesson at her knee, and in the same situation I would leave, too. Intolerance for violence has always seemed a given to me in a relationship, a baseline, and consequently I married a gentle, thoughtful man who never has, and never would strike me.
The issue still seems personal, however, and it should to every woman. Escaping from abuse is not as easy as my mother made it sound, and finding a spouse who won’t resort to violence when he’s angry, or wants to assert control, is not as easy as I believed. Too many women can testify to both.
When I created the character of Harmony Stoddard, (One Mountain Away) I gave her a family background with a warm, loving mother and an abusive, mercurial father. I wanted to make it clear to my readers that she couldn’t go home to fix the problems in her own life. The problems at home were much worse.
As so often happens, as I worked on the series, I continued to wonder about Janine, Harmony’s mom. I knew she was in an untenable situation, and that she believed she couldn’t escape. I wanted to know why. So I researched abuse more thoroughly, read first-hand accounts and imagined scenarios where a woman could be trapped by a man. Janine’s story became clearer to me.
When I began to write this novel, I chose not to belabor what Janine had already been through. Certainly she has been shaped, even misshaped, by all the torment she has undergone, but at the same time, the novel begins as she finally escapes. I wanted to write a story of recovery, of courage, of transformation, as well as one of continued fear for the future–which so many women share. That’s the story I’ve tried to tell.
I have never been abused, but I know that some of my readers and people they know may well have been. I dedicate this story to them, with the greatest love and respect for their struggles.
Thanks for reading with me today, and thanks to all of you who have already ordered the book.