Deb Amy Says Her Inspiration Is All In The Family

The inspiration for my forthcoming novel, The Glass Wives, can be summed up with a short question:

What makes a family? 

Is it this?

Or this?

Or this?

To write The Glass Wives I didn’t have an “ah ha” moment. No epiphany. No strike of lightening.

So, what happened?

I lived amidst a litany of life changes. I got divorced after being with my ex for twenty years. And about two years later, just after I’d found my footing in the world of divorced living and single parenting, he died suddenly. And while the premise of The Glass Wives is that a divorced mom takes in her ex-husband’s young widow and baby in order to save the home she loves, the book is fiction (Puleeze! I did not take in a boarder, I don’t bake, and I didn’t face losing my home). A modified real-life event (ex-husband dies) was the hook for the story, but not its inspiration.

What’s the difference?

To me, a hook is what compels a reader to read. Inspiration is what compels a writer to write.

And so, because my own family was turned upside down, I was compelled to write a story about Evie, a woman who, also amidst sadness, scandal, and literary twists and turns (meticulously placed, I hope), must decide what makes a family — and what’s normal — when her conventional notion of a normal family has been challenged.

It took me a long time to realize, believe, and defend, that a mom with two kids is a whole family, not a broken one with a missing piece. And by The End of The Glass Wives, just a few hundred pages, Evie has also redefined the meaning of family.

She’s quick on the draw, unlike me.

Just another reason I love writing fiction!




21 Replies to “Deb Amy Says Her Inspiration Is All In The Family”

  1. Kate and Allie!!! I LOVED this show (I know, lots of us did!) and like you, Amy, I think growing up I drew from all the family relationships of network TV (and who can forget 8 Is Enough or Family??) many of which were exploring the facets of different types of family structures and dynamics. I loved all of them!

    I too can’t wait to read THE GLASS WIVES!!

    Happy Friday, Deb sisters!!!!

    (I think I may have used up my quota of exclamation points for the day and it’s not even 8!)

  2. Amy, I too had to make that adjustment – my husband died suddenly in a motorcycle crash when the boys were 7 and 10. Family took on a whole new meaning for us, too. What a wonderful thing for you to be able to take that experience of life turned completely upside down and turn it into a book! Can’t wait to read this – both the inspiration AND the hook are definitely there.

    1. Kerry, I’m so sorry. I hope your family is doing ok.

      It’s unbelievable isn’t it – the twists and turns of reality? Luckily we can ramp it up ten-fold in fiction, which makes it new, and different, and just what we want.


  3. I love the idea of redefining the meaning of family. That idea has always drew me to your book. I can’t wait to read it! Counting down the days….

  4. I, too, loved Kate & Allie. I never missed an episode – and ironically, I hadn’t even thought about it in years until you posted this today.

    Love your view on hooks vs. inspiration – it’s so true – and I think it’s really neat that your idea sprang out of a real life experience. I’m sure your characters’ journeys are amazing because you were walking a road of personal reinvention too, which must have given you a lot to draw on. I’m a divorced (and remarried) mom myself, so I really identify with your struggle to reinvent and understand what it means to be “family” when your family doesn’t always look like the one you had growing up or the one you had in your mind. I’m so glad you found a place of strength!

  5. Amy, I loved that you separated the inspiration from the “hook.” I became a single parent (by choice … which tells you what a hair-brian I was then) … my son was three, my daughter five months. I worked two jobs and put myself through school, fought the system to be considered “normal” and convention to convince the children. Did a stint with a women’s newspaper, a weekly feature called “Alternatives.”

    It was geared for the single parent family. I loved One Day at a Time complete with the crazy Italian super. What you talk about is the reconstituted family, the recycled souls of two units that come together to make a whole. Gees, can you get better than that? Nope. Can’t wait to read Glass Wives.

  6. Hmmm. I posted a couple of days ago, but seems to have lost its way. I was just saying that you’re everywhere and I’m enjoying the sightings. Looking forward to The Glass Wives. This one I’ll buy and not wait for the library. 🙂

  7. This: “To me, a hook is what compels a reader to read. Inspiration is what compels a writer to write.”

    Yes. So true, Amy. And this week has been such a great teaser for all of your books and today is no exception! Can’t wait to read THE GLASS WIVES!!

  8. I second what Joanne said. So, so true. And I love what you say about Evie being quick on the draw, unlike you, and that’s what you love about fiction. I totally agree! I love making my characters have snappy comebacks or witty retorts, even when it would probably take me a day to come up with such a thing in real life. We can make our characters however we want them to be!

    Your book sounds awesome! I cannot wait to read it.

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