Inspiration for my book, Secrets of the Ladies Mission Society
It first emanated as a short story revolving around a ladies society whose members all harbored secrets and an elderly lady rumored to be writing a book about the town. In rethinking, I realized it was merely an exercise for a larger story. More inspiration came from my father’s small town in North Carolina that we visited when I was a small child. My parents took me with them when they paid a visit to an elderly bedridden lady. Unlike Miss Adie, she was rather austere, but alluring due to the fact she was writing a history about the town. Her wise eyes surveyed my face as she reported that it would contain many surprising tidbits. My childhood brain immediately stored away this information as it enchanted me as did her stern appearance void of warmth totally unlike my fictitious Miss Adie. Since that encounter, those who are older have always enchanted me for they embody a history totally alien to my own and I am gifted from their acquaintance. I had an elderly friend in the community where we live and I often visited her as from our first introduction, we felt an immediate connection. She became a precious friend. When she became bedridden, I would take my children to visit in the hope her strength and warmth would inspire them also. When she passed away, I grieved deeply and to this date when I pass her house, I always say, ”Hello, lady,” because she was every bit that and more.
The Society in my book evolved from one to which my mother-in-law belonged although the characters in mine are totally fictitious. My husband came from a small town in Alabama and his mother belonged to a philanthropic organization that met once a month. It was devoted to helping the needy, local and national. When my husband, Bill, and I lived in Korea where he was serving his time in the service, he became involved in an orphanage. Bill’s mother and her friends arranged for much needed clothing to be delivered to Bill to aid children who had no parents and were very much in need of toys and clothes. Each of my fictitious characters evolved as I wrote the story. At one point in the book, there is a knock on a door and I’m sitting at the computer, my fingers on the keys, wondering who is there. Mesmerized, I waited to see who was at the door and when the character stepped into the body of my book, I am stunned at how well he fit. He was a character badly needed and I hadn’t really planned his appearance. Yet, he was perfect for the life of the book and the lonely widow who had lost her only son. This is what I love about the process of writing. In some strange osmosis, characters simply step into the body of your work and they quite often are unplanned, but badly needed. Writing can sometimes be like watching a film evolve on the screen of your computer. And where does the true inspiration for writing a book begin? I believe it is a great need to express whatever gift God gives to all to us. As individuals, we are all gifted by our creator and it is up to us to fulfill the need to express that gift. When I sit down at my computer or write longhand on a pad, I strive to satisfy that responsibility. It’s an honor to do so and an immense pleasure when others reading my work translate the satisfaction my work has given them. That is why I write!