I'm often asked when a new book comes out why I wrote it - what propelled me to delve into the depths of this particular plot line and characters lives? Well, with The Memory Bell it was more than just a story, more than just a plot with subplots swirling about on the page. This book meant something more. If you know me at all I'd rather skip to the easy questions the ones where I don't really have to explain a lot and I can tell you my creative mind needed to be pushed outside of my comfort zone of writing historical western romance and I needed a change, but that would only be half true and complete bull shit.
Why the Memory Bell… why this book? I wanted to write a story for my readers... one they could all relate to on some level---one I related to.
Family - we all have some form of one and the word will either make you… smile, cringe, or do both. For most of us it’s the latter, and to be truthful I see nothing wrong with that. Family has a tendency to make us all a little crazy. There is a false narrative that family is the best... family is what we all need, when it isn't the case at all. Family is definitely great, it is awesome and I adore mine, but sometimes family can suck. You know that saying; you can pick your friends, but not your family this is true...the word family get's thrown around like it's gold, or for lack of a better description like it's the mafia and we need to keep the toxic ones, and hold on to the crazy ones and remain surrounded by delusion and discord no matter what because... well damn it, because it's family.
Which brings me to the real reason I'm writing this blog, my why for writing this book, for delving into a mystery but more so into the depths of family relationships? Ever heard of an old family saying, “Blood is thicker than water?” My Italian side used to say this to my mom (FYI she isn’t Italian) whenever they thought my dad would take her side, and toward the end when my dad passed away and they wanted us to live with them. Yeah uncool, but I'll save that story for another day.
Blood is thicker than water… kind of eerie, isn’t it? The phrase holds an ominous feel to it and makes me, being the rebel that I am, want to push back with a big loud BULL SHIT.
Family can be harsh, judgmental, and cruel and they can even turn on you. So, the whole blood is thicker than water just doesn’t wash with me. I’ve had friends who have treated me better than some of my family. So if you ask me water is more refreshing and I'd rather drink that shit all day long when it comes to my extended family.
Which brings me to the why of this book… I am always looking to evoke thought, emotion and make my readers feel a part of the story I am writing, and The Memory Bell has a piece of every one of you in it.
Everyone has family skeletons, some are still in the closet, and some are out free for the whole world to see and judge us on (lucky us, right?) There is an expectation when it comes to family, some sort of hidden pact, kind of like the "blood is thicker than water" thing, but more engrained into each of our heads that family is the be all and end all and we need them to survive. It is simply not true. We’ve all felt the disappointment when the bonds of a family break and the walls come tumbling down, because even though we don’t want to admit it, and we sometimes don’t want to see family for what they are, when they show their true colours, it hurts. Yup, it cuts like a razor and stings for a bloody long time afterward.
The Memory Bell is about the journey through family ties right down to the ones that break and the ones that remain… and how it’s the family left standing by your side at the end that matter...
AND sometimes it isn’t always blood, but instead water to quench your thirst for life, love and the perseverance to go on and that is okay.
“For Grace Penner family is everything, that is until everything begins to unravel. Drawn to the big-city detective who has come to her town to solve a terrible crime, Grace finds herself questioning everything she has ever known. A story of innocence lost and wisdom hard won, The Memory Bell is a wild ride readers will not want to miss." --Jenny Jaeckel, Author of House of Rougeaux