”Whatever possessed you to write that story?” is a question I am often asked at book signings. Along with, ”How long did it take you?”
I am not certain any author can answer either of those questions with any degree of accuracy. But we all take a stab at it because, “I don’t know,” just isn’t satisfying to the audience—or to me. After all, I wrote it, I should know how long it took and where the idea came from. So I take a stab at it.
For my mystery series, the answer is easy enough. Counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs, atomic weapons, embedding bombs in human bodies are not original with me. I took the liberty of juxtaposing such shenanigans with the well-known porous Texas/Mexican border resulting in thrillers that are very real. Real enough so that authorities have questioned where my information comes from.
My latest book, Standard Deviation, blends autism, child molestation and quadriplegia into a story of friendship and frustrated love. So why did I write such a story? Partially because so many people I know are caregivers to family members who require some degree of special care. And partially because one of my granddaughters exhibited behavior which, in my mind, was “off center”. In some sense Standard Deviation resulted from my quest to understand my granddaughter.
Thank God neither child molestation nor physical infirmity are issues my family has had to deal with. Unfortunately, however, these problems are far too real to many people around us so I decided to include those digressions from “normal” as well.
The theme of facing the consequences of one’s actions, and the theme of friendship boundaries, are themes that have fascinated me for as far back as I can remember. So the real answer to how long it took me to write the story is, in truth, it took me a lifetime.