When my publisher at Breathless Press told me that the theme for this year’s holiday stories was “Angels” I didn’t think I would submit anything. It’s not that I didn’t think angels could be inspiring, I just didn’t feel it was a topic I could write about with a lot of conviction.
And then I listened to a Nerdist Podcast with Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. In the interview Chris was talking to the host of the podcast about being up in the International Space Station. He said that when you’re in the station, the earth is above you and below you is the universe, falling away from you forever. As he said those words the title The Art of Falling Forever just fell into my head and at that moment I knew that I would have to write a story with the theme of angels with that title.
However, that was easier said than done. Over the next month or so I talked ideas over with my husband, but nothing felt right. I thought of doing a fallen angel story and had the kernel of an idea, but the inspiration to expand into something that I could really sink my teeth into just wouldn’t come to me. As the weeks past and the deadline to have the story in for consideration approached, I started letting the idea of writing a story for the holiday season go.
In August, an event that we knew was on the horizon happened. My mother-in-law, whom was not just my husband’s mother, but one of my best friends, passed away. She’d been living with and fighting pancreatic cancer for two years and lived longer than anyone had expected her to. When her time came, she passed quietly, and in peace. It was a bit of a shock because the day before she’d been energetic and chatty and the day before that when my husband had talked to on the phone to discuss his travel plans to visit two days later, she’d been joking around. It took a lot to get her down. She was incredible.
Never have I felt less like writing than I did when she passed away. It was though everything about me that was creative was unplugged. I was lost, adrift in a sea of grief and only the love of other family members and friends who loved her too kept me going.
When we returned home, the most remarkable thing happened. Suddenly I felt not a simple urge to write, but an absolute need to do so. I came up with an idea for a holiday story quickly and almost fully drawn out before I had even touched my fingers to the keyboard or pen to paper. Usually, when I write, I have a bit of an idea, a general knowing of where I want to go and ideas come to me as I go along, but this time, for the most part, I knew what I wanted the story to be.
I wrote the story in three days, but as soon as I sent it off, I knew it wouldn’t be what they were looking for. It was dark, very dark, and sad. It was not warm and happy like a holiday story should be, but it was too late now. This was the path I’d taken so I’d have to wait and see what the result would be. Not surprisingly, my story was rejected, but that was okay. I talked it over with my editor and told her why it was so dark. She made some suggestions and in the end I was able to pull back the sadness of the story and create a tale that is about finding happiness even in the darkest times of your life.
Obviously art is a tool for expression, and while I have used writing or acting as way of helping me through some tough times, I have never had an experience like this one. I didn’t think I’d be able to write for a long time. I thought because of my loss that my creative fire was burned out, at least for a little while. I was wrong. If anything, it was stronger than ever. It’s as though my body and mind knew I needed to find a place to channel my grief and instead of shutting down, it opened the doors wider than ever before.
In The Art of Falling Forever, my heroine Amy has lost her mother and is coasting through her life, trying to find a foothold. She finds it in the production of the town’s Christmas pageant and she finds strength in someone who loved her mother deeply. I was lucky to have a mother-in-law that I loved as much as my own mother and I found strength to keep going in doing something that makes me very happy; being creative. Amy finds out that her mother is linked to a past that spans the ages and that a bond of love and friendship in her family can be traced back over 2000 years. This discovery gives her more strength to carry on.
When my mother-law-passed away, I witnessed the path of friendship and love that she laid out everywhere she went. I met a woman who took one session dance classes with her and thought she was the most marvelous person. I met people who loved her so much they couldn’t even talk to me they were so saddened by her loss. I just hugged them and they me. I met people who told me how much she made them laugh, how funny she was, how talented she was. She touched the lives of everyone she met. She gave strength to everyone she met. She was a rock and I miss her very much.
Life is short and beautiful. So much of our time is spent worrying about what other’s think or believing that whatever you have to say isn’t really worth hearing. My mother-in-law said plenty and was heard by more people than she knew. She gave much of herself often at the risk of being hurt, but the end result was leaving behind a legacy of love and friendship that will be an inspiration to me and many more people, forever.
Thank-you very much to Savvy Authors for having me on today. And thank-you to all of you who stopped by. For a chance to win a copy of The Art of Falling Forever, please stop by my blog Ivy B Misbehavin’ on release day, December,12/14.
Happy Holidays and Happy Reading,
Bio: When she was just nine, this girl began her journey for a life on the stage. Attempts were made, classes were taken, lessons were well learned but, at the end of the day, a decision to live life off the stage was made. But all was not lost. While at college she met the love of her life and his support and strength has helped her to see that she has talent waiting around many corners.
When the stage beckons, she answers its call, and her new passion for writing has enhanced many of her theatre dreams and as well as the occasional book, she now occasionally writes a play.
The love of her life generously reads everything she writes and although he may not always be her muse, he is always her biggest fan.
The Art of Falling Forever is Ivy’s sixth release with Breathless press. Between the Lines, Ivy’s first Breathless Press release was released in January, 2012. This was followed by The Fifth Story in September, 2012, Baby, You’re Cold Inside in December, 2012, Christmas Eve Surprise in December, 2013 and I’ll Call You Alice in August, 2014 that was released on its and as part of the anthology Wonderland Tales.
Even though Eilam has always been part of her world, Amy never thought of him as more than her mother’s friend. One night, after rehearsal for the town’s Christmas Pageant, Eilam reveals that not only is there more to him than Amy had ever imagined, but that together they could be the next chapter in a story that has played out in her family for over 2000 years.
While struggling to cope with the death of her mother and the responsibility of being in charge of the biggest even of the year, Amy must decide whether her future lies with her estranged boyfriend Troy or the enigmatic Eilam.