Once upon a time, I was younger. But I wasn’t THAT young — after all, I had four small children – how young could I be? We had moved clear across the country, and sometimes that made me sad. OK, truth be told, sometimes it STILL makes me sad, but that’s another story.
Younger Me took my kids to a lot of classes. One of those classes was swim lessons at an outdoor pool about half an hour from our house. I loved these swimming lessons with all my young mommy heart, because while the older three took lessons, my youngest could play in the little kiddy pool. At ten o clock four days a week, six weeks a summer, you could find me soaking my toes in that lovely kiddy pool water, while my youngest boy slid down the frog’s tongue, or played in the water spurting from the whale’s spout.
I have this vision of me, which is probably totally inaccurate, standing in that water, my hands shielding my eyes from the sun’s glare. For just a moment, I’ve turned my back on all four of my children, and I’m staring into the parking lot. That is the moment when my very first story was conceived.
It was borne from that bizarre time when my old home no longer felt like home, but my new home didn’t always feel like home either. I missed my family and friends desperately, and yet I knew if I moved back I would miss my new life just as much. In a fit of melancholy, I took that feeling one step farther:
What if...a young wife from a different world (in my more morbid moments, she was even a young mother) got trapped in our world? What if there was no hope that she would ever make it back to her husband? Would there ever be a point when she would feel like he was dead and be able to start a life with someone else? And that moment, when I was staring out at the parking lot, I was channeling my inner Jenny, imagining the moment when she finally makes that choice, with tragic consequences.
It was the first and only story I ever wrote with a pen and paper. The first sentence was “Jenny stood in the kiddy pool.” It was figuring out what happened to get Jenny to our world that created my first novel, Hidden Magic. Angst practically dripped from the page. Oh my gosh, it was fun.
For the three or four of you who have actually read Hidden Magic, I’ll set your mind at ease and tell you that I have no plans to use that storyline when I write Hidden Magic’s sequel.
But…you never know.