Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lawyers, Writing and Disease

The other day I had a lawyer in the house discussing an accident I had last year.  After talking about the business of depositions and interrogatories he asked me a question, how did I start to write?

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.


  1. Wow. I also have SLE, and I started writing because I needed to take a break in the middle of the day and I didn't want to watch more soap operas. See, this disease hasn't beaten two of us! Email me if you need to chat. We're in a few tribes together.

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey.