Please join us in welcoming guest blogger Susan McBride, author of The Truth About Love & Lightning, Little Black Dress and The Cougar Club. She has also written a short memoir called In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Man, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After Forty. Today, she's talking about her own brush with the miraculous while writing Love and Lightning.
Just before I started writing The Truth About Love & Lightning, I had been through an
emotional wringer. I’d suffered a miscarriage, my mom had been diagnosed with
breast cancer, and our cat, Blue, nearly died. So I wanted to stay away from
storylines that even remotely resembled my real life.
With Love &
Lightning, I decided to focus on lost love and second chances. One of the
central characters is a woman named Gretchen whose mother had only told the brutal
truth all her life…with awful results. So Gretchen grows up telling little
white lies, figuring it’s much better—and safer—to couch the cold, hard truth
in something softer. Only she ends up telling a whopper of a lie that comes
back to haunt her when a man is dumped in her walnut grove by a tornado…a man
who strongly resembles her first love, Sam Winston, whom she last saw forty
years ago and had believed dead. The man was struck by lightning and can’t
remember much of anything. So is he or isn’t he Sam? Those around her, including her twin sisters
and her daughter strongly believe that he is. If this man who fell from the sky
is really Sam, Gretchen is afraid he’ll get his memory back and recall the
biggest lie she ever told, exposing the truth to her family and everyone in
Oh, wait, did I mention Gretchen’s daughter, Abby, discovers
she’s pregnant early on in the book?
Quite a surprise since she’d recently split from her boyfriend of six
years after she gave him an ultimatum about marriage. Nothing about that
plotline resembled my real life, or so I thought. Then barely a month into penning
Love & Lightning, I found out I was pregnant very late in life (at
47!!!). Suddenly, Abby’s story intermingled with my own. It was amazing,
working on a book with a pregnant character and letting some of my fears and
excitement emerge through her thoughts and voice.
Often during my work on The
Truth About Love & Lightning, I found it hard to focus (go figure!). By
the time I finished the revisions in March of 2012, I was just months shy of
delivering a very healthy and hearty eight-pound baby girl. Somehow it seems
that, no matter what topic I tackle in my novels, life ends up imitating art.
What writing Love
& Lightning ultimately taught me was that lightning can strike twice,
and I don’t just mean geographically. I had thought my chances of having a
child at my age were over when I miscarried at 46. I can’t tell you how happy I
was to discover that miracles really do happen, both in real life and in
fiction. And so do happy endings.