Sunday, February 2, 2014

Inspiration in My Life

What am I going to ramble about? Inspiration.

No, not the “Where do you get your story ideas” type inspiration, but the kind that usually finds their way into my books. Sometimes, without realizing it, real people have HUGE inspiration to my characters and I come across how much later, after the story is written.

My latest book, which is slotted for a March 2014 release has characters that are inspired by each other and it got me thinking how similar they are to some people in my life that inspire me.

See, what some may or may not know about me is that I'm visually impaired. My optic nerves didn't develop fully. I don't have vision in my right eye, and what they call “functional” in my left eye. I've met some amazing people in my time, many with varying degrees of a disability, but mostly visual. Two of my best friends that I met in high school when I moved to Glendale Arizona in 1997 are two of the most inspiring people I know. While writing A Masterpiece Of Our Love, I kept thinking about them. Why?

First, a little bit about the book. My heroine, Becca Lange is a survivor of a plane crash. When she was eight years old she lost her entire family. The only other survivor is the hero of the book, Hunter Beckmam. Hunter pulled her out of the wreck and brought her to shore. They spent days on a tiny island before they were found. Becca sustained many injuries, one being traumatic brain injury. She didn't speak or walk for a long time after the accident.

Fast forward to the current time setting, and Becca lives as normal as possible. She's overcome a lot. Doctors were 'certain' Becca would never talk and walk again. 

 Hunter is and has always been inspired by her strength and determination.

Yes, that comes a lot from real life. I don't remember this being said specifically to me, but it was apparently said that I would never do normal things. I wouldn't skate, read, be 'normal” Okay well first off, what's normal anyway. And secondly? Umm....I love reading, thank you. I skate, I played. I went to school, graduated. Met some amazing people along the way.

The two friends? One was born without eyes. Rare case....I think she's said she was the 7th in Arizona, but that was in 1980. Not sure the stats on that now. Let me tell you about this girl. She's out in the working field, living in an apartment by herself and my goodness if you tell her she can't she'll PROVE you wrong. I've heard stories from her teachers that even in kindergarten, she would push hands away in order to maintain her independence. It's to the point where even in times that are questionable and she should ask for a little bit of help, she doesn't. My husband has repeatedly told her whatever she needs, we're here. I love her and admire her determination. We've made a great team throughout the years and remain the best of friends. Now she works with other adults with visual disabilities to help them gain their independence.

Our other best friend, she was hit by a car at the age of seven. She has low vision and had a lot of brain damage. She doesn't remember her life before the age of seven. She had to re-learn everything. Her short term memory is very bad, and she uses calenders and a voice recorder to keep track of things. She's sweet, funny, and she wants to be a writer. Her dream at one time and I stillt hink she should go after it, was to be a massage therapist.

There were days as I was growing up that were dark and cruel, because I think we all know kids can be mean. I was picked on. A lot. Hell, even in my adult life. In 2006 I was heading home from work, I remember there was a lot of up in the air with my ex and I, and I was feeling really down. In a fragile state. My eyes, the move around a lot. I can't always keep them focused. I'm not sure how old the girls were that came to the bus stop to wait as well, but wow, they ripped into me because according to them I was “Looking at her sister the wrong way”

I wished I'd had my sunglasses down. I wanted to hide. I wanted to not be there. Not be me.

I was so shaken, upset, I cried. I did! Yes, I'm emotional. I was upset as it was, and that kind of attitude display hurt.

But if this wasn't me, if I didn't have this life given to me, I never would have met my best friends Jenny and Nina. I mean, maybe I would have, but who knows? These girls have been my life line. We get on the phone or get together and there's ALWAYS laughter. Fun. We go to karaoke. I spent my high school years with Jenny all the time. If one saw me, usually Jen was by my side. Nina went to a different school, but that might have been for the best because how would we ever concentrate if they put the three of us in one school? Haha. Jenny and I were bad enough. :) 

So, as I wrote Becca and Hunter's first installment of their story, I kept thinking about Jen and Nina a lot. I'd say especially Nina in this case. In the circumstances we were given in our lives, we make the best of it. We lift each other up on the days someone tries to bring us down. We're glued together by a bond that not many would ever understand. It's more than just friendship- we're soul sisters. We get each other like no one else does. We can nit pick, laugh, cry, bare our deepest parts of our souls to each other and we won't judge. I can't wait for them, and for everyone else, to read the story that they play a bit an inspirational part of.

I gave my characters hell. Becca and Hunter don't and haven't had it easy. But together, they have a bond that might bend sometimes, but doesn't break. It's fiction, but you realize that despite the odds dealt to them, they're going to to their best to shine. Together, and separately. I think while all of my stories have a reflection of me and people I know in them, A Masterpiece of Our Love really REALLY hits home for me.

Now, as a mother of a son who is speech delayed and has a few other developmental delays, and autism has been brought up multiple times, I'm a little afraid for him. I know what my life was like growing up, and teasing has only grown worse. All I can do is help him shine. Matthew has a good head on his shoulders. He's a bright and bubbly child who loves to smile. He's got a charismatic personality that's so infectious. I hope that even if there are rough days, he finds those special friends that he can bond with on a level no other may understand.

Thank you for stopping by today.

BLURB:  Two Lives Torn by tragedy

Eight year old Becca and twelve year old Hunter cling to each other and life after surviving a plane crash which stole their families.

Two Souls Seeking Love

Each year from the time she was old enough to travel on her own, Becca met up with Hunter on the island that altered their lives forever.

Until he stopped showing.

Her constant. Her link to the past. Gone in the blink of an eye.

Two Lives Bound by Secret

Suffering more heartbreak, Hunter returns to the one place he’s always sought comfort.
The island where he and Becca met. The place that stole from him, and in the same instance gave to him. He hasn't been back or spoken to Becca in four years.

Though he’s sure she must hate him for disappearing, Hunter discovers the girl gone, now a woman in her place. Hunter is determined to prove to Becca he isn’t the same twelve year old boy of yesteryear.

But someone isn't happy about their reunion...

Strange things begin happening, letters showing up in their hotel rooms and at home with cryptic messages.

Two Broken Hearts Heal as One.

With the mystery unsolved, Hunter convinces Becca to spend the remainder of the summer back home with him. For safety and to give them a chance to rediscover the adults they’ve now become.

Will love get a chance to blossom or will the past come back and tear the masterpiece of their love apart, once and for all?

Excerpt: “I echo that sentiment.” Hunter chuckled. “What a night.” They entered Range's and headed for the elevator. As the doors enclosed them in the small space, he turned to her again. Gently touching her face, Hunter inched closer.  “Bec, I feel like we should talk about that kiss. That's the second time we've kissed and this year, I don't want to walk away without talking about it.” 

So that was still bothering him.  And...second kiss? So he did remember what happened four years ago. Well, shoot! She felt the heat rush to her face. She was so not ready to talk about this yet
“It was just a kiss.” She said softly. “We were caught up in the moment.”  Just a kiss? Oh, that was the wrong way to describe it. Hunter's kiss was on another level of amazing. She didn't know how to put it into words. She could get lost in a kiss like that under an umbrella in the rain. Or standing by the ocean while the sun set as the chilly waves danced around their feet. 

Just like that, the room filled with an unseen energy charge between her and Hunter. What was that all about? She melted inside as his lips parted. What stopped her from kissing him again was the elevator. It jerked to a stop, signaling the arrival on her floor. The doors pulled apart. 

“I'd better go.” She muttered. Tearing her gaze away from his face. She whirled and bolted, unsure of what to make of that tension she'd just felt. It wasn't the bad kind, not at all.  The I-want-to-do-something-crazy-with-you kind. 

Before the doors closed, she heard Hunter's quiet words. “It was more than just a kiss.”
Back in her room, she leaned against the closed door and sank to the floor, touching her lips as if she could feel Hunter's still on them from yesterday.  His voice echoed inside her head with his last comment. Yes, it was more than just a kiss. 

  For the past twenty years, Hunter had been her friend. Her mentor. On many occasions, her protector and voice of reason. The one who knew her weakness and fears, yet still loved her despite them. 

Four years ago, something changed. And this year, it seemed to evolve. She had to push it out of her mind when he fell out of contact. She'd left it alone. 

Until now. 

Could it be they were both overly sensitive at making it through another storm ravaged accident and they were having mixed feelings?

Or could it be so much more?


Andrea Cooper said...

Great post! I may have to copy this format :) Tweeted

Melissa Keir said...

Inspiring post! I'm so glad that you have continued to move past what others felt you could and couldn't do.


Linda Andrews said...

Very inspiring. I can't wait to read the story.

Brenda said...

Nikki, all I'm going to say is I love you--and I'm so happy we met and became friends!
Thank you for sharing this with us.