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Barbara Davis | The Art of Writing Heartbreak


The Wishing Tide
Barbara Davis

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September 2014
On Sale: September 2, 2014
416 pages
ISBN: 0451418786
EAN: 9780451418784
Kindle: B00IOE3NP8
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Barbara Davis:
The Last of the Moon Girls, August 2020
When Never Comes, May 2018
Love, Alice, December 2016
Summer at Hideaway Key, August 2015

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I like pain—there I said it.

No, this isn’t a piece about bondage or kinky sex. It’s about how stories grow for me, how they percolate up into my psyche, almost always while I’m not looking. A question I’m frequently asked in interviews or by readers is if I start a writing project with character or setting. It’s a question that’s always stumped me a little bit, not because I didn’t understand it, but because somehow, it didn’t feel like it applied to my writing process. I realize now, after two finished novels, and with two more in progress, that it’s because every story I’ve ever written, or probably ever will write, has been born out of pain.

While it’s true that it’s a character who actually experiences the pain, it’s almost always the pain and heartache itself that comes first. The circumstances then help me build the character and drive the story. In my first novel, The Secrets She Carried, the linchpin character, Adele Laveau, was formed in the space of about fifteen minutes, after I noticed a single grave on the side of the road in North Carolina. My mind immediately began to race, posing all sorts of questions about who was buried in this terribly lonely place, and why. The answers came almost faster than I could keep track of. The story I built was a tragic one, full of loss and angst, and heartbreak. And because of those things, I knew I had to figure out who this woman was, and how her story ended.

In my second novel, The Wishing Tide, my favorite character is named Dirty Mary. She’s a very troubled and eccentric person, though very wise too, in her own way. And like most of us, she isn’t quite who she appears to be on the surface, which made her enormously fun to write. Mary sprang up almost fully formed, as a result of a chance meeting with a woman on the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island. As we hiked the cliffs together, she began talking about her life, and about how she’d had to ‘go away’ for a while. There were obvious gaps in her story, things she clearly didn’t want to revisit, which, of course, got my brain churning. By the end of that walk, I had a head full of questions, the first one being: what would have to happen to a woman to completely break her? And then I began filling in the blanks, layering on the losses and the sorrow, until I knew exactly who Mary was, what she had survived, and what she’d been forced to do in order to cope. I wanted to write the story of a woman who had seen things, been through things, and had come through to the other side, scarred but wise—or as Hemmingway put it, stronger at the broken places.

Novel three, which I’m working on now, germinated in much the same way, and revolves around a character who endured some very ugly things in the first half of her life, and eventually has to find way to transcend those horrors and get on with the business of living. It might not sound like it, but ultimately, my novels are about hope, about the resilience of the human sprit, and love’s capacity to overcome heartbreak, and even betrayal. But first I have to set the stage. I have to create the heartache before I can create the healing. I have to create the betrayal before I can create the forgiveness.

I suppose I’m attracted to these kinds of stories—as both a reader and a writer— because I’ve always cheered for the underdog. I like seeing people who’ve been knocked around by life finally figure it out, in spite of the scars and bruises, and in the process, show us how it’s done. In the end, I write happily-ever-afters, because I believe in them. But I also think a happily-ever-after is just a little sweeter when a character really has to fight for it—which is why I always start with heartbreak.

 

 

Comments

2 comments posted.

Re: Barbara Davis | The Art of Writing Heartbreak

Hi, Barbara!! I wanted to say that after reading your
posting, I was deeply touched, and know that I have to put
your books on my TBR list, for personal reasons. I'm sure
that the subject you have chosen was not the easiest to
write, even though your posting almost makes it sound as
such. Trust me when I say to live it, is not an easy row to
hoe, as they say. I found the cover to your latest book to
be striking, and I will be seeking out your books. Thank
you again for coming here, and letting us know about your
books, so that I could become familiar with your writing!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:05am September 3, 2014)

How i got my husband back.Am Stacey Bruno by name I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who's name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one's gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I'm now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos the Dr ATILA only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is: atilahealinghome@yahoo.com
(Stacey Bruno 12:13pm November 26, 2014)

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