by Jeannie Levig
I think the question, What if? is one of an author’s greatest tools. At least it is for me. Many of my story ideas, whether I’ve written them yet or not, have started with those two words.
What if two women meet in the woods, one from present day, the other from a hundred years earlier? Once the initial question is asked, the who, how, and why follow to fill in the story. Who are these women? What makes them interesting? What are their individual stories? How do those stories conflict and threaten to keep them apart?
What if a woman named Jacey has a little girl who uses a purple crayon in her colorings to depict glimpses into the future that announce the love her mother has always dreamed of and warn of impending danger? This is a story, for which I’ve written three chapters, called Purple Crayons Never Lie. As I write this, I’m thinking maybe I should finish it. It sounds like a good book. J
What if two women with no interest in romantic entanglements or complications in their lives wake together after a one-night stand to find that one’s son is marrying the other’s niece the next day? Some of you might recognize this one as the inception of my second novel, Embracing the Dawn.
What if a woman’s girlfriend disappears one day, and in the aftermath, the woman discovers she never really knew her girlfriend, falls in love with someone else, and then the girlfriend comes back? This is the What if? that was the seed for my new release, Into Thin Air.
Into Thin Air is about a number of things, some of which I can’t give away because, after all, it is a romantic intrigue, and the intrigue part should wait to be revealed as you read it. However, one of the ideas this book explores is the question, Can we ever really know anyone, or can we only know someone to the exact degree they reveal themselves to us? In the writing of this book, I’ve looked at my own relationships, specifically what I reveal about myself, very closely. How honest am I? And in the areas I am careful about what I do or don’t reveal, why am I hiding? What do I feel I need to protect?
The characters in Into Thin Air—Hannah, Nikki, and Jordan—are complex. None of them are all good or all bad. They all have their secrets and their reasons for keeping them. Each has that one thing she desires the most that seems unattainable. And each has to face the truth about themselves and one another in order to attain it.
This book deals with the ways people can treat one another to try to make someone be who they want them to be. It has imperfect and flawed characters and is an intense read. It’s a raw and honest story about how we can learn from the ways we’ve lived our lives and make a decision to change, and offers a different way of seeing and understanding how relationships can be completely different than what we think they are.
However it turns out, Into Thin Air was written from my heart as a gift to those it speaks to in some way. There is a lot to it. It was a difficult book for me to write due to the emotional charge of some of the subject matter as well as the intensity of the story, but I’m glad I did. It is a story that needed to be told.
Back to What if?
What if I end this blog, invite you into the world of Hannah, Nikki, and Jordan to form your own conclusions, and get back to writing my next novel? That just might be ideal.