Writing every day became a habit for me. When I became pregnant with my son 9 years ago, I was not only an avid reader, but I have decided that writing was important to me and would put the words out as soon as a had some great idea or plot intruding inside my head. Many novels inspired me, and I knew right then that my interest in Young or New Adult fiction grew as I read novels like Twilight and a variety of other novels. Writing was a great way to start my day. I would turn on my computer while holding a mug of coffee first thing in the morning and sit on the chair. I remember working second shift as bar tender in one of the resorts in the Dells and meeting many people who inspired me to write some of my novels. In fact, they served as great character and had their own voice. Having graduated in Tourism and hospitality a couple years before moving to the Dells, I also dreamed of travelling around the world, but because this idea was so far away from happening, working with people from all walks of life, helped me to identify myself and who I really was.
I wasn’t only a writer though. I was a part-time student, bar tender, life guard, avid reader, and a pregnant battered wife. If making up plots was my only way to escape, then certainly did that often while driving to work or school, working in the slow bar, or even cooking at home. My relationship with my spouse wasn’t what I expected to be when I first met and later married him. Little by little, friends weren’t friends anymore, as time with them became very limited. Family was far away in South America. I survived every day, just trying to give the best of me. My first manuscript, not yet published, was a paranormal romance. The Twilight series was what inspired me to write it. After seeing the pictures online of a small town located between the glaciers in Jasper, Canada, I knew this was the perfect location for my first characters Ethan and Joshua. I’ve decided Ethan Graham was born in the first day of summer. I can’t forget to mention that I am a summer person and winter in Wisconsin doesn’t make me very happy. But the funny thing about my fictional character, Ethan, is that months later, my son was born at the same day as Ethan’s birthday. June 21st. First day of summer.
I wrote and rewrote my manuscript numerous times, but in the beginning I didn’t think it was good enough to even try to find an editor, let alone finding an agent. When someone suffers from domestic violence, we as women, tend to not believe in ourselves. After moving to another town while still pregnant with my son, twenty miles away from the Dells, all I wanted was to invest my money in a better computer and perhaps a new car, but I wasn’t allowed to have anything I wanted even if I was working full time. Not to mention, this was the time of the crisis as my spouse and I struggled financially. I never understood why he struggled. His hours were never affected and neither his pay that was way above the minimum wage. We lived in a small one bedroom apartment with two cats, and my dad paid for my part time school in which made my spouse even angrier as he didn’t believe school would do a thing for me.
Just before we’d moved to the small village of Merrimac, Wisconsin, he’d finally convinced me to stop working at the resort, so I could spend more time with him and his family on the weekends. But as much as it seemed a great idea to connect with them, it was far from perfect. The relationship with my husband wasn’t like most couples who laughed, held hands, kissed and tell secrets to each other. It wasn’t passionate, exciting or a happy relationship that I dreamed to be. He drank often, and when he did, he kept me awake an entire night listening to what he had to say. If I didn’t, I had to pay for. The more time it passed, more alone I felt inside the trap of my own home. The writing definitely increased, and so my depression.
When finally my son was born, my husband was sick of the only thing I had: my writing. English wasn’t my first language and for him what was the pointing of writing if my grammar sucked anyway? I knew I didn’t have to do this to prove anything to him, but only for myself. At this point, I had lost pages and pages I had written over the months. I stopped believing in Ethan’s goals, and the plotline I had created for him and his cousin, Joshua. Basically, I didn’t know the steps to succeed as a writer. I had dreams, but not goals. With my son born, things didn’t improve at home, and eventually I had to quit not only school, but desperately search for a full time job with benefits that wouldn’t happen overnight. My first goal was finding a job, and then perhaps saving money to leave my marriage. As I wasn’t supported to write any more novels while living under the same roof, my best friend once told me that instead of living the dream, I should worry about the now. My son needed me, and we both needed to leave that house and be safe. It turned out that my friend was right and I needed to do something about my life fast.
Like anyone suffering from intimate partner violence, it takes time to realize we have something wrong going on without help from outside source. It can take months and sometimes even years for some people to notice they are trapped. As I couldn’t leave my abuser right away, I’d go to the library once or twice a week and journaling about the details of my life as much as I could. I would send e-mails to myself as a way to tell my own story; a story that was so different from the one I’d written a year back when I still lived in the Dells. As the abuse didn’t seem to cease, writing was what gave me the strength I had inside of me. Eventually, I found a full time job with the benefits I was looking for. The payment wasn’t that great, but anything helped. Paying for a place of my own seemed impossible, let alone buying a new car I wasn’t able to afford. The one I had was already taken away from me in exchange for another junk that belonged to his mother; a way he found to keep me in the house trap.
Writing is an art that you must keep doing continuously. Today, years later, writing is still what saved me. I found the strength inside of me, my son is health as I am. The court heard me. I was able to start school again, keep working on my regular job, improve my skills, buy a house, and travel more. The list goes on and on. And along with that, the writing always come with me.