Wednesday, May 16, 2012
February Grace and Godspeed
I'm thrilled with my guest today. February Grace, otherwise known as Bru (which is fabulous—I always think Bruhaha) has been a friend of mine for a few years now and I think her name suits her well. What do I mean? February is a month of challenges—winter is feeling really long and our tempers run short... and I think there is no higher praise than handling February with Grace.
And it's true. Bru has has health challenges—illnesses, threats to her eyesight. And still she keeps plugging forward with profound Grace. When I found out her book was coming out and invited her to be a guest, she asked me if I had a topic in mind, and I said I would LOVE to hear a bit about conquering obstacles. We all, as writers, have to persevere. I think it is the number one trait behind success. So how inspiring is it to see someone who has conquered not just the ordinary obstacles, but some huge ones.
So welcome Bru!!!
Nor can I recommend dealing with Bipolar 1, PTSD, or OCD.
I also cannot, in good conscience, recommend spending your summer holidays on Tatooine because the dust storms are awfully bad that time of year.
(Guess which one of those things I have not actually done.)
It’s true; all but the last of those things fought me as I tried to see through my dream of writing the novel of my heart, GODSPEED.
The stroke a decade ago took a lot from me. Going blind really changed everything. Suddenly you can’t navigate a public restroom and you’re doing things like setting your sleeve on fire on the stove because you’re in denial you can still do things you can’t.
The eye surgeries were hard enough, the complications, unimaginable. I’d regain some of my sight but remain legally blind permanently without aphakia glasses and in some situations even with them.
The other operations — barbaric. At one point I went 22 days without solid food. IV med treatments, exhausting. Every day I would cry and think, I can’t do this again. But a friend would say to me, “Do it again, one more day, for me,” so I did.
One night amidst all of this, I was recovering from surgery and my medication wore off. I woke up, heart pounding from the pain, unable to hold up my head and desperate to distract myself until I could gather the strength to stand.
The only sound in the room besides the sound of my heart beating in my ears was the ticking of a clock with three faces; a clock I dearly love. As I listened to it the thought suddenly occurred to me…what if?
In that moment, the idea for GODSPEED was born.
I grabbed a piece of paper and scrawled the words “What is a heart if not the ultimate clockwork?” and a few others, then somehow managed to fall back to sleep.
Health issues forced me to set it aside for a while but finally in 2011 I was determined to finish it. Sadly, medication complications forced me to stop mid-way and the book was still unfinished.
No matter what, I longed to see the book through. The characters, especially the most vulnerable, would keep me up nights. They represented people so real to me, people so often overlooked in our society that I HAD to finish this; I had to tell their story. I could not let them down.
Finally, after two years of doubt and tears and sleepless nights, I held the proof copy of GODSPEED in my hands and for once in my life, I didn’t cry. I smiled, because I had done them justice. With the added support of a brilliant copy editor, cover artist, and dear friend who formatted the book, the dream was realized.
I kept my promise to my characters and myself, and no amount of physical pain or disability was able to stop it.
Hart said she thought the above was a story worth telling, I hope so, and I hope that whatever struggles you may face in your writing you will keep going. Because you, and your characters, deserve for you to see it through.
My sincerest thanks to Hart, for hosting me today!
[see, I told you--POWERFUL story of perseverance]
February Grace is a writer, artist and poet. She sings on key, plays by ear, and is more than mildly obsessed with science fiction.
Her poetry, prose, and/or flash fiction have appeared in The Rusty Nail Literary Magazine (twice) Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and will appear in the Rose & Thorn Journal, Spring Issue 2012.
GODSPEED is her debut novel, and a labor of love she refers to as "Literary romance with steampunk embellishments." It was released in May 2012.
Abigail’s young life was saved by the kindness of strangers: Schuyler Algernon, the man who found her collapsed on cold city streets, and Quinn Godspeed, the doctor who risked everything by breaking the law to keep her fragile heart beating.
As the truth about what she’s become and her feelings for her savior overtake her, Abigail is forced to ask what constitutes life, living, and what dark secrets are contained within Godspeed’s past and the walls of Schuyler’s house.
[And just an update: HWMNBMOTI is MUCH better. Probably they will send him home today, provided the morning checking out of him goes fine, which it should. Thank you all for being so amazing yesterday!]