Story Behind the Story

I wrote REASON TO BREATHE during the winter of 2009. I was in transition in my career (nice way of saying I was unemployed, along with many others during that time) and I read a lot of popular YA novels.

I always had aspirations of writing. No, that’s not correct. I had always been a writer, but it has taken until this point in my life to understand that truth. I have created stories — whether written, told, or acted out in my backyard, since I could talk and write. I wrote in a journal every night documenting every event and emotion of my day. Writing and creating stories has been as natural to me as breathing — so when I decided to write a novel, it was as if the clouds parted and the sun came out. THIS is what I’m meant to do.

How’d it start? Insomnia. I honestly couldn’t sleep one night and it was two o’clock in the morning — so I decided to force a dream. And guess where this dream started…

It started with a guy and a girl in an art room. She was upset with him for reasons I didn’t know, and he was desperate to kiss her.

A little paint, and a kiss that could make you float later – let’s just say I wasn’t about to fall asleep. I started building a story around this couple and this pinnacle moment in their relationship, and by five o’clock in the morning, a thought came into my head – “Don’t lose this.” So I didn’t.

I grabbed my laptop and the next hour I created an outline of the most important elements of my dream, up until the very end — REASON TO BREATHE was created. I knew the ending before I began to type. The story didn’t follow the bullets exactly.  I found writing and creating to be an organic process and sometimes things led in a different direction. But overall, it is the story I created that night. The ending, as much as it drives you insane, was always this ending.

I would write throughout the day, sometimes without getting out of bed. One night I found myself waking up at one in the morning with a thought and wrote until six. It was exhilarating!

Imagine being in a dream-like state for six weeks, with images of people in your head – living, breathing people that I got to listen to their conversations and watch their every move. I cried with them, laughed and fell in love alongside them – and even got to feel their anger and hatred. And if I didn’t like what they decided to do, I could rewind it and play it again with different results. Sometimes these people did or said things that surprised me, and I would get so very excited at the turn of events. New people would appear and I’d get to know them as well. Some were worth sticking around – while others, who may originally have had a name, became a teammate, or a guy in the hall. The experience was amazing!!

I would not have had the courage or confidence to put my work out to the masses without a test group of readers, and each of the readers helped shape REASON TO BREATHE into what it is today. They are my original fans, and to them I will be eternally grateful.