A week ago, I talked to a group of avid readers, 70 men and women, all members of the Friends of the Mobile Public Library. I was asked to speak about writing and my upcoming novel, Center of Gravity, being released July 15, 2015 by Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson.
Here’s the Center of Gravity summary:
The truth could cost her everything. Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.Or is it?When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.If only Ava could believe her own excuses.Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.
So, what’s the “real” story behind the story of Center of Gravity?
In previous years, I’d churned out fun, frothy tales about the Deep South, writing under the pen name Lauren Clark. Halfway through the writing of one of my novels, my marriage fell apart. Everything that I had built and trusted had come unglued. I wasn’t sleeping or eating, I was worried about my children, about my job, and about my future.
I shelved the novel and hunkered down in survival mode. I moved into a new house in a new neighborhood, restarted my life, and slowly got back on my feet.
Months later, it hit me that I missed writing. But I’ll be honest. I worried about starting again. I worried about not being good enough. But I knew that I wasn’t a quitter. I am a survivor. That feeling stayed with me until I picked up my Mac, opened it, and began writing again.
This time, I couldn’t bring myself to write the funny, frothy Southern novels I’d been working on. This time, I tackled a serious storyline, a suspenseful story about a family in peril.
You see, I had spent the past year or more talking to other women and men about their stories of love and loss. It seemed that everyone I talked to had an aunt, a cousin, a best friend, or a sister who had been through a tragic, heart-wrenching break up. Some involved children, some didn’t. Many included alienation from friends and family. Some involved violence. The majority involved a long, drawn out, expensive court battles.
All of the stories left me feeling, somehow, that I was not quite alone. I began writing the novel, which would become Center of Gravity.
Again, this is not MY story, but the story of every woman or man who has gone through a terrible divorce or break up. It is the story of any person who has been threatened by the loss of his or her children.
It is also a story of tenacity and survival, about persevering in the face of insurmountable odds. It is a story about fact and fiction; about the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we are told.
It is also a story about family and a mother’s love for her children—a bond that can’t be broken by time or distance. And finally, it is a story about forgiveness and moving on—about walking away from tragedy better, not bitter.
I can’t wait to share ‘Center of Gravity’ with you on July 15th. I’ll be sharing much more about the characters, setting, the REAL cover, and story line in the weeks to come!
So, do you know anyone who’s survived a bad break up or divorce? How did they get through it? Did anything positive come out of it? I’d love your best advice to include in a future blog post!