As the mother of three young girls, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I wrote a novel about a mother and her daughter. Though I wanted the relationship between G.G. and her daughter, Nic, to be realistic in its imperfections, I also wanted their relationship to glimmer with the magic that I know can exist between mothers and daughters. In many ways my new book, Every Wild Heart is my ode to this special bond; I’ve dedicated the novel to my daughters and also to my mother.
When I set out to write this story I was thinking a lot about change—specifically, how people can fear or embrace change, and how hopes, ambitions, and priorities change over time. I kept returning to the line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet that I ended up using as an epigraph for the book: “We know what we are now, but not what we might become.” I wanted to explore this idea that who we are is not fixed; we are forever changing. Becoming ourselves is a journey.
I had a vivid image, a scene, in mind for this novel right from the start: a famous radio host—a woman known for her independence and strength—is in the middle of one of her late-night talk shows when she receives the first of a series of threats from an unhinged listener. At the beginning, this was all I knew of G.G. and her story.
The other image I had from the start was of an introverted teenager who becomes a vibrant, confident version of herself as she gallops her horse alone through the woods. I rode horses from the time I was a little girl until I graduated from college, so I was excited about the idea of mining some of my most cherished memories for this novel. The girl on the horse in the woods, I decided, was Nic, and she was G.G.’s daughter. Nic is different in almost every way from her mother—but she’s also fourteen and only at the start of the journey to becoming herself.
These themes and images were all I had when I began writing Every Wild Heart, so in a way the process of writing this novel mirrored its theme. It was a story that was not fixed from the start, but rather a journey. A becoming.
Every Wild Heart is available now wherever books are sold.