Writing Beth Rising


I'm an avid reader, consuming sometimes five books a week.  I like to read everything.  But I've come to realize that I really love books with characters who remind me of people that I've known.  I doubt I could ever write a book that didn't contain elements borrowed from people I've met over the years.  I wonder if that's because the process of writing allows you to recreate a life.  I can put the people who have disappointed me, and those I've disappointed, into some perspective.  

My first book, Beth Rising, was very loosely based on the childhood a person very dear to me endured.  Unfortunately, she wasn't rescued until many years after the main character in my book.  And she did her own rescuing.  She didn't get the chances others in her family had. She was the youngest girl and truly did leave school to care for her mother.  What she endured was tragic and left its scars.  But she emerged as heroic nonetheless.

Oddly, the events I wrote about in the book, regarding the heroine's early life, were never told to me.  But when she read it, she told me that some of them actually happened to her.  The only explanation I can give for this is that she is very empathic and I must have picked up on it when I was with her at some point.

The more I know this woman, the more I respect her.  What are the truly brave things one can do for another person?  Take care of a difficult parent?  Rush to the side of a sick sister who hasn't spoken to you for years and take care of her and her young family for months?  Donate a kidney to a brother who needed it to continue living?  My heroine actually did all this.  So even though she didn't end up a wildly successful computer genius, bring her family and inner circle fame and wealth, she did rise.  She rose above it all and became my inspiration for this book.



Donna Dunham WilcoxComment