I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Reading was my escape from the legendary Buffalo winters and probably contributed to my becoming a writer.While I was in graduate school at the University of Buffalo I began writing poetry, some of which was published in small literary magazines. The first sentence in Realities – My children are gambling – was the first line of a poem that grew into a novel. It was gratifying to see Realities published, not only in the United States but in England and Sweden, where it was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.
The idea for a novel can come from anywhere. The Last Season, The Story of a Marriage, started with an image of three middle-aged adults sitting at a dinner table, a married couple and an unmarried man. When the husband asked the man what his intentions were, the fellow replied, “I intend to marry your wife.” The image was a gift, and I had to run with it.
When I start a novel I know the beginning, but I have only a vague idea of what might happen between the start and the finish. For me it is an adventure, as I hope it is for the reader.
The path to healing after suicide loss is different for every survivor, yet all paths have the same elements in common. Survivors cope with shock, guilt, and anger. They also experience feelings of rejection, stigma, and shame. A Harvard study states that “…a loss through suicide is like no other, and grieving can be especially complex and traumatic.”
It has been over forty years since I wrote a novel in which the widow of a man who took his life writes to him every night. She waits until their two young children are in bed. Then she writes.
Her name is Jenny Weaver. She is so lonely it hurts. She impulsively moves from the Northeast to California a year after his death, and she has made only one friend. She doesn’t belong to a support group. She’s finding it difficult being a single mother. And she doesn’t want anyone to know how her husband died.
The novel was my way of coping with the death of a young man who took his life. He had so much promise. And then he was gone. I was in graduate school at the time, and my major was poetry. I wrote the first line of what I