It's pretty clear to me, and to everyone who's been following me online, or listening to me talk about what makes me tick, that writing is at the center of my life. I love it as much as reading, and that means a whole lot. Just check out my shelves on Goodreads. But there are other aspects of my life that are important as well.
Staying in touch with friends and family is a bit of a challenge for me. My immediate family lives in The Netherlands (where I was born and lived the first 19 years of my life), and in Germany. One of my nieces lives in London, but strangely enough I don't see her much more often than the others. Some of my nephews, one of whom became a father yesterday, live in Germany, one in Austria. My younger nieces still live at home, in southern Germany, but they love to travel and come to visit me once a year to make sure I stay up to date with teenage concerns. Then there are all my friends, old an new, that are mostly online contacts since theyare truly spread around the globe.
Some of you may have heard about my 'downsizing project', otherwise known as a diet. Sitting at the computer all day, typing away, may be very productive book-wise, but it sure doesn't help the waistline stay in shape. So, about 15 weeks ago, I started a serious effort to get back to my 'fighting weight'. I'm pretty much on schedule at this point, about to hit the half-way goal in a week ot two. Then it will be 'only' another 40 pounds to go. It's well worth the effort, though, except when my daily walk gets 'rained out' by English weather...
I love living in the English countryside. The closest bigger city is Chester, and its mix of old architecture (all the way back to Roman times, inlcuding an amphitheater currently being restored) and newer additons (like the horse race tracks) makes for some very interestig contrasts. The old city walls are still intact, and I walk around the city (takes about 45 minutes and includes free sight-seeing) on a regular basis.
What keeps me busy as a writer right now is finishing up the Men of Riverside series. The first book will be published on November 22. What sparked the idea was the idea of reunions. Lovers who are separated by fate, friends who discover they love the person they left behind when they moved, men who meet and fight, then get together again. I decided to set the story in a fictional town (Riverside, Texas), and to have most of them be men who go to the same high school. A detailed planning sheet (including birthdays and main timelines) later, the closely interwoven series of stories was born. It will take place over the space of 10 years, between 2000 and 2010. Some books will include glimpses into the men's past, but the majority of events will happen between 2008 and 2010. It's been a challenge to write (4 books have been completed so far), but very, very rewarding. Designing a story like that, with so many pieces of the puzzle distributed over time, was great fun.
The key point for me, though, in terms of what I hope readers will get out of it, is summarized in the dedication:
For those who never give up hope that luck, determination and love may bring separated lovers back together for the happy ending we all crave.
If you decide to check out Finding Elliot, I would love to hear about your thoughts and comments. You can send me an e-mail at serenayates09 at googlemail.com, contact me via my website, or find me on Facebook.
Until next month,