Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Lawyers, Writing and Disease
Many people have asked me this question and I'm afraid I've given a less than forthcoming answer. The truth is that writing a novel was on my bucket list. When I started to write my first book I was in the recovery phase of an incident that caused my whole body to shout down. My kidneys, my liver, my heart all failed and I was about as close to death as you can be without really dying. My physician, Dr. Mark Zucker of Newark Beth Israel hospital in New Jersey, put me in a medically induced coma and told my husband that with the support of various machines I would either recover or I wouldn't but the odds were not in my favor. I didn't wake up for three weeks and when I did, I was very weak. My brain was dull from the lack of oxygen and I couldn't stay up for longer than one hour at a time. This continued for about two months.
I was always a voracious reader and during this time I bought and read so many books that my husband was bitterly complaining about my book bill. One day I read a really lousy book. I complained about the plot, the characters and the execution. I impulsively said, "I could do better than that!"
He replied, "Why don't you?"
In my teens I had journalistic ambitions that were sidelined by marriage and motherhood. When it became apparent to me that I needed a job, I became an administrative assistant. In that position, I was required to write marketing material, newsletters and ad copy. I thought about what my husband said and determined, why not?
I began my first novel, The Sarran Plague with the idea that a menage should be a true menage. At that time the menage stories I read contained two men and a woman had the woman in the middle and the men basically straight and not touching each other sexually. I decided to write a menage story that was truly a menage, in other words, sex occurred among all parties involved. I wrote a science fiction because it seemed to be socially unacceptable to write a story where the men were involved with each other exclusively. The only way I could see writing the men as a sexual unit was to involve a woman.
It took me a year to write my first novel and about two years to bring it to an acceptable level of competence. By that time, I began to look for and see many gay romances and publishers willing to take a chance and sell them. From that moment on, I decided to write almost exclusively gay romance.
It was a decision in line with my convictions. I believe in equality among citizens, whether the difference is race, religion, sex or sexuality. I decided to speak up and write what I believed. I have no idea if one of my novels have changed anyone's mind about GLBT rights, I can only hope that they did.
I took one of the most awful experiences of my life and pulled out an item from my bucket list, I wrote a book, then I wrote a few more. In doing so I found something in myself and tried to help others to find an open place in their beliefs. That is really how I started to write.
As far as my health is concerned, I was eventually diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease with Lupus SLE. It is nasty and it gets me down sometimes, but I don't hate it as much as perhaps I should. It brought me full circle, back to the writer I always wanted to be.