The inspiration for my forthcoming novel, The Glass Wives, can be summed up with a short question:
What makes a family?
Is it 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!