A lot of people ask where the idea for a book comes from….so here is the story behind my second novel.
The truth is it all stemmed from a haunting. Or rather a haunting image.
A long time ago when I was a television reporter in London I was sent to cover a campaign launch on a little green opposite the house of commons. I arrived with my TV crew to find a group of women releasing dark balloons against a clear sky.
I learned, to my great sadness, that they were all mothers and each balloon represented a child they could not find. The stories of the estrangements were many and varied. Runaway children. Custody disputes. Crime...The list went on and on. But though the stories were all so very different, the look in the eyes of all the mothers was the same.
I was young. I was not a mother then but it still broke my heart. I interviewed a number of the women and one took me back to her house to show me the bedroom that she had kept exactly the same since the day her two children were “lost” to her.
I have always been a little haunted by the memory of those balloons and when I was looking for an idea for my second novel, I realised that I wanted to write a fictional story that would capture something important I learned that day. For those brave women taught me the real difference between empathy and sympathy. Through their campaign they gave each other strength and hope and a lot of love. They were able to help each other so much, I realised….because they truly understood each other.
My second novel tells the story of two women who strike up a powerful bond of friendship born of an empathy they don’t at first understand…as they each deal with secrets from their past. The story is entirely made up, of course. It’s a novel and I would never use the facts of anyone’s true story for my fiction. But I do hope I have captured the emotional landscape of what it means to search for someone you love. And the huge importance of true friendship…and the healing power of love.
The book called Last Kiss Goodnight was published in March 2016 and has received more than 100 wonderful reviews. Thank you, readers. It means so much to me to see people enjoying the result of watching those balloons. One reader recently wrote: 'One of the best books I have read this year'. That certainly made my day!
I hope your own writing life is full of wonderful inspiration.
The time has come to pinch myself yet again as I am delighted to share with you the cover for my second novel.
It is up on Amazon right now for pre-order and is published on Friday March 25th as both an Ebook and paperback.
So, given this is take two for me now, I thought I’d jot some brief notes on how this feels second time around. Is it any less surreal? Is there any less excitement, doing this as a ‘published author’ (for, let me check the calendar, a whole seven months now) rather than a complete newbie? The short answer is…er; no, dear people!
This still feels an absolute surreal privilege and I feel no less lucky to have finally ‘got there’.
But some things have, of course, changed practically and logistically. I do , for instance, feel that I have a better professional understanding now of all the processes on the journey to launching a novel. The structural edits. The copyedit. The cover liaison. The cover reveal. The Pr….and lift-off. The heady drama of these final hectic weeks…
Most important I am learning the essential juggling act of editing and launching one book while writing a new one. This will make experienced authors smile as it is probably the biggest adjustment - the joy of having a deal but realising that with that comes a schedule and a series of deadlines!
I also find that I still feel very nervous, truth be told, about what readers will think. I had expected that to diminish a bit with the second book but I learn that this continuum of nerves is perfectly normal too…just part of the territory as a writer. I suppose because we care so much about our writing and our craft, that will never go away. But I do take heart from the wonderful reviews for my debut. Forgive the boast but as I write I have 65 five-star reviews for Recipes for Melissa and feel very, very blessed so thank you to anyone reading this who has been kind enough to buy and review my first novel. Means a lot to me. Do hope everyone likes the second!
Teresa Driscoll - journalist, author, mother of two and lover of great coffee.