It’s not what I thought it would be
I had no idea what happens next after one writes a novel. When I created my characters and breathed life into them, they became real. They had feelings. They laughed, cried and had problems like most people. When you develop a character you essentially become that person. You speak for them, think for them and act for them. I didn’t expect the emotions, the pains of death or loss, to have the effect they had on me.
Then I realized that it wasn’t me experiencing pain or loss. It was my characters. So when I wrote about the tragedy of Napoleon’s death in Uncle Otto, I could hardly see my laptop screen for the stream of tears. In fact, I welled up as each one of the cast of family members and friends learned about Napoleon’s death. It was exhausting.
There really was no life after Otto; he had become a part of me. I carried him and the others around with me all the time. It was as if I created another universe. There, I was a prominent part of the story; not as a character, but as an observer. At any given moment, be it bedtime, driving, walking out and about, one of the scenes would pop into my head and take me there. I almost remembered all the words.
I didn’t expect to have that whole world at my beck and call. I thought that writing a story would be like reading a book. No matter how much you liked a book, at one point it slipped into oblivion. Not when it’s your baby. Unlike human babies, your baby never grows up, and you can enjoy it over and over and over and over…