The last couple of years has been a trying journey for most with the pandemic looming over us like a curse. It brought out the best and worst of people. Some took a long deserved rest, others took up old hobbies or dived into new ones. There was a big surge in pet adoptions. Anything to break the monotony of our new “normal.” Arric and I felt it was a sign from the universe to finish this book. I can say this was an absolute labor of love and this novel really has felt like our baby. The process, much like childrearing was a rollercoaster ride, many highs and lows, twists and turns to get it published. Adventures come with lessons. It was indeed a thrilling and sometimes frustrating ride but well worth it. We are grateful for the people that helped this come to fruition.
The history of this novel dates back to 2003 when I attended Oprah Winfrey’s “Live your Best Life” tour in Seattle, Washington. It was an experience I will never forget. She spoke for easily 5 hours. We were served a lovely lunch and were sent away with impressive gift bags. Included in the gift bag was a workbook/journal and we definitely wrote in that day. What I came away with was the message of what it means to live your best life and how to listen to what life is trying to tell you. The biggest take-away though was when you have given your 100% sometimes you just have to surrender and understand what it meant for you is meant for you and what isn’t simply isn’t. I wrote the first paragraph of this novel that day. At that time I believe my intention was to write a short story. I picked the writing up and put it down many times. When I did decide to commit to the project it was going to be a biography of my husband’s grandmother, but life had other plans. Granny lived all the way in Chicago, we in a suburb outside Vancouver, BC Canada. With the distance, her age, her hearing and then ultimately her passing, it wasn’t destined to be a biography. With Arric’s help I was able to take what she told us about the South, mix it with Arric’s experience living there, my imagination, and the fictionalized version of Granny’s journey was born.
We both spent hours listening to her tell stories of her life. It was the lessons that she wanted to pass along much more than the stories. Although this is a work of fiction, rest assured I understood the assignment and weaved in her teachings. The title is indicative of the odyssey of the characters but also the writers. The story centres around 3 women and that is an homage to the 3 women that impacted both our lives: our mothers and Granny. They taught us to be fearless when it comes to fighting for happiness and that was and still is a priceless gift. Enjoy the journey, we did…