A huge thank you to Kara for allowing me to guest post on your blog!
Inspiration comes in the most unlikely of places. Several months ago, I asked my fellow Twitter writing friends what they found to be the most annoying writing advice. One adage that came up repeatedly was “write what you know.”
Okay, that makes sense if you take it literally because even with research, some experiences are beyond us. For example, I’ll never know what it’s like to be fired from a dream research job in the pharmaceutical industry like Doctor Joanie Fisher, the heroine of my novel The Mountain’s Shadow. But even though I can’t know exactly what it’s like, I know the feeling of being disappointed and facing major defeat on a personal level. The year before I wrote The Mountain’s Shadow, I failed on my first try to match for a predoctoral psychology internship.
Not matching for internship doesn’t sound like that big a deal unless you know the consequences. First, it’s a requirement to graduate from a doctoral psychology program, in my case Ph.D., so it put me behind a year in both school and life. I had a serious boyfriend who was waiting until I was closer to being done before he proposed because we knew we’d have to live apart, possibly far apart, for a year. I was also going to lose my cohort, the people I’d been through the ups and downs of graduate school with.
That’s the experience I brought to writing my novel, which opens with my heroine Joanie Fisher facing three huge setbacks: she’s been fired, which also causes her to lose her lover, and her beloved grandfather has gone missing. Sure, he’s left her his multimillion dollar estate in the Ozarks, but since she doesn’t know with certainty that he’s dead, and the handsome, intense Leo Bowman seems to feel he can challenge her claim on it, she can’t really believe it’s hers.
My unexpected delay also gave me the setting and another layer of inspiration for The Mountain’s Shadow. I matched the second try to the Central Arkansas VA, to which I hadn’t applied the first time. The VA drew veterans from all around including the mountains, and they loved to tell stories of the strange things they’d seen in those woods. I’d visited the Ozarks previously, but talking to these veterans gave me a good environment for my werewolves, the local flavor of “tall tales” with an element of truth, and a sense of the dialect. Placing it in the Ozarks caught my editor’s attention because she lives there, so my defeat also indirectly led to my first contract.
Trust me, it took a long time before I could look back and see how not matching for internship the first try ended up being a good thing. Our characters experience the same — initial devastation that they have to overcome so that their lives end up better. I can’t claim that all my setbacks have worked out that well. I’m grateful this one did and that it showed me how write what I know from an emotional level, from experience, and from researching through listening to the stories of others and by reading werewolf legend and lore.
Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each.
Make sure to check out the rest of the Cecilia Dominic tour, as well as the links below. Thanks!
You can find her at:
Web page: www.ceciliadominic.com
Wine blog: www.randomoenophile.com
To buy her books, you can get them in all ebook formats from Samhain Publishing:http://store.samhainpublishing.com/mountains-shadow-p-73020.html
It’s also available from Apple, Sony, and anywhere else ebooks are sold.
Blog Tour Schedule
October 28 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
October 30- In the Name of Books – Review & Excerpt
October 31 – Authors to Watch – Review
October 31- Traveling With T – Guest Post & Excerpt
November 1 – Ink and Paper – Guest Post
November 4 – Authors & Readers Book Corner – Excerpt
November 6 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
November 7 – Ms. Nose is a Book – Review & Excerpt
November 8 – Escape Into a Book – Review
November 11- Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Guest Post
November 11- Keep Calm and Blog On – Review