After I had my second child, I ended up with a really good case of Post Partum Depression. A big enough case that I was hospitalized for a short time and then treated on a regular basis for the next 6 months until being shifted back to my family doctor. A lot of what I learned about therapy was feeling entitled to take care of myself and put myself first. I made sure I got walks in the fresh air and sunshine. I took time every day to sit and read or just do something FOR ME. And when my mind started to race, I learned to write things down – I journaled.
I don’t know why this was such a shock. I mean, I was never a diary-keeper but in high school when I was going through all that teenage angst, I was always writing poetry etc. as a way of expressing my feelings. Why did I stop? Who knows. I do know that it helped. Writing down my fears and worries suddenly made them smaller. Let me put them in perspective. Or simply let me acknowledge them so I could deal with them.
Then I started writing books – this was partly an emotional outlet and also fit into the “do something just for me” thing. I fell in love with it – with the words, the process, with the happy feeling of a happy ever after and the sense of accomplishment. I had a goal – I wanted to be published. It was something for me to work towards. And I got to do it while still being home with my girls.
In some ways, writing saved me. And in some ways, being ill saved me as now I’ve been able to turn that therapy into a career.
But sometimes it still works as therapy. Because as we all know, life ain’t easy. We all have ups and downs – and while I’m on the subject I have to say the Fillies here at the Junction are some of the strongest and most compassionate women I’ve ever met. Last summer when my father in law was ill, they were there for me. I knew they would understand and they did. They knew exactly what to say. I love my Filly sisters.
And while all this was going on, I had a book to write. I didn’t get much done on it before September, and it was due at the end of that month. But things took a turn for the worst and my father in law passed away at the end of August. My focus was on family.
But as we all know, things don’t go back to normal right after a funeral. And I wrote THE REBEL RANCHER while dealing with a lot of feelings – some of my own, some simply worrying about my husband and his family. You don’t come through something like that unchanged.
This book will always be a bit special – both because I absolutely fell in love with the hero but because I wrote it during an emotional time in our family’s life and also because I worked through a lot of my feelings as Ty dealt with the changes in his family and falling in love with Clara. If Ty is strong and gentle and giving, it’s because that’s what I experienced watching my husband and his family come together. If he is hurting, well, I saw that too. And Clara is there for him, and she understands. I hope I was able to give that sort of support. And writing it helped me deal with all that had happened through what I think is the greatest medium of all – love and happy endings.
Writing was my escape and I love when I get mail from readers telling me that my book allowed them to escape for a few hours or helped them cope with something going on in their lives. If I can bring a smile or a happy feeling in the midst of trouble, I consider that a blessing. I have the best job in the world, don’t I?
THE REBEL RANCHER winds up the Cadence Creek Cowboys duet, but there’s another Cadence Creek story in the works right now. Ty and Clara’s story officially hits shelves tomorrow. It’s dedicated to my father in law, and my husband, and in a stroke of brilliant luck also has my favourite cover ever.
Happy reading (and writing!)!