The Day My Character Became Too Real
By Sandra Poole
When Jenn and I started writing our first draft of False Identity, and I tried to put onto paper all that our heroine, Chancy, was experiencing as she tried to pick up the pieces after her husband’s untimely death, I had no way of knowing that I would soon be headed down that same path. A few weeks later, my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer, and our lives came to a screeching halt.
The novel was put aside as we researched treatments for cancer, then traveled all over the country, trying to find alternative treatments after his oncologist told us there was nothing else that could be done for him. After a fierce battle, John ultimately succumbed to the disease, and I lost him.
I went on survival mode and couldn’t think of writing or anything else for over a year. When I was finally able to write again, I revisited the first scene in the book where Chancy is grieving over her loss. This time, I didn’t have to wonder in the slightest how she felt—I knew it so intensely that it rocked me to the core. I simply couldn’t go there because it was too sad. I told Jenn that she would have to take the lead on those parts because it was too painful for me.
I can testify now that the old adage “write what you know” does have merit, but I never would’ve voluntarily chosen to have that particular experience. I still miss my husband terribly, but I have found the strength to continue on and live my life the best way I can. In this life, we all experience trials and heartache. It’s our responsibility to glean something positive from adversity and if possible, share our experiences with others.
|The family ... how I always remember us. L to R: Page, Jonathan, John, Sandra, Robert, and Jennifer|