Mending Dreams came about because of some events in my own life—and I did use snippets of reality in the book, but rearranged beyond recognition.
I actually knew a woman whose husband did exactly what Frank did: several years into the marriage, he informed her that he was gay and was leaving her because he was in love with another man. She, of course, was devastated—especially because she was pregnant with their first child at the time. But she survived, and even thrived in the aftermath, and I always admired her courage and resilience.
I, too, am divorced, and I remained friendly with my ex-husband afterward. At the time, most people thought this was really weird; you’re supposed to hate your ex! So I took it to a “what if” extreme: what if what happened to Susan had happened to me? How would I have handled it?
And then my mom, a former smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer—advanced and inoperable. In her 70’s at the time, my mother chose not to go through chemotherapy but went into a hospice program instead. And I witnessed another demonstration of incredible courage during the last excruciating months of her life. I have always felt indebted to the nurses and hospice workers who cared for her in those dark times; they were such kind and dedicated people.
As for the title, it came from Susan’s broken dreams: she always wanted a conventional marriage. She wanted to belong to someone; that’s what she thought would validate her and make her feel worthy. When the rug got pulled out from under her—when Frank left her—he shattered her dreams. Her self-worth in shreds, Susan reacted by hiding behind cynicism and anger.
Over the course of the story, Susan begins repairing her dreams. Ironically, Frank even helps her with this indirectly, by introducing (or re-introducing) her to people who see her as a strong, worthy person, deserving of love and respect.
So those are the seeds from which Mending Dreams grew, but I wanted to tell a good story, not just vent my own angst over events in my life. And I hope I’ve achieved that goal in the book, which is a story about forgiveness and courage, but most of all it’s a story about love, in all its variations, and its power to transform a person’s life.
Mending Dreams was published by Champlain Avenue Books.
Mending Dreams will spark plenty of discussion in your book group. Download the reader's guide PDF to get the conversation started. Schedule permitting, I can attend your book group meeting via Skype. Email me for details.