Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Dawn Turner Trice, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and a YA author herself, speak for the second time at a workshop. Last year during the same workshop, I submitted a page of my novel for her feedback, and she was amazingly supportive and encouraged me to finish it. A month later I did. This year, I was able to tell her how much her words of encouragement meant to me and shared with her that I was now working on the second draft. Because she had shared her own novel-writing process with us the year before, and she spoke of the loss of her sister during the writing of her novel, I shared my own loss with her, and she said that I would be seeing my novel in a whole new light now. Losing someone you love changes everything.
She was right, of course.
Now when I wrote my novel, I believed it had little to do with my life. It was just a good story burning inside me, nothing more. Something I thought that tweens and teens might enjoy reading. Certainly something I enjoyed writing. But as I crept back towards my novel -- editing it in bursts and fits then going back to ignoring it, I began to suspect that there was more of me, more of my family, and more of my brother buried deep in those pages, than I realized during the writing process. I now know that my novel is for him, and that knowledge carries me through the deep, dark, emotional place that I avoided for so long.
I introduced you all to my main character here for the first time, so today I thought I'd take the opportunity to introduce you to her sister, since really, today's post is largely about siblings.