Remember back in 2003 when a Russian pop group named t.A.T.u. Released a single that exploded worldwide and caused A LOT of controversy in the process?? The song was called ‘All The Things She Said’ and it was, in my humble opinion, both beautiful and sad in equal measure. The lyrics focus on a girl’s account of falling in love with another girl and how she feels trapped and ashamed because of how society perceives her love to be wrong. She then goes on to express how she wishes she could just whisk her girlfriend off to a far away place so they can be ‘free’.
The video focuses on a similar message, depicting the two singers behind a prison-like fence with judgmental spectators watching their every move. In spite of this, they still fall together and kiss passionately for everyone to see, proving that they refuse to run and hide and that society’s ‘prison’ will not contain them any longer.
By the end of 2003, Much Music ranked the video at #4 for most controversial music video of the year and I was completely floored. What? A video about two girls in love and not being able to express that love is controversial?? Why? It was 2003 and multiple countries were trying to band this video from being played! This video was literally deemed controversial because two schoolgirls kiss… For real.
Anyway, back to my point, which I think if you’ve already read Keep From Falling you probably know what that point is. Keep From Falling’s main premise was born from that beautiful video and my anger at society’s reaction to that video. In 2004 I began to develop a plot for a short story focusing on two best friends who were in love but couldn’t express that love openly because of their fear of not only their parent’s reactions, but also society’s reaction to their relationship. The story never took off. I wrote exactly three pages and like nearly every other piece of writing I’ve ever began, I didn’t finish it.
My passion for writing went on an eight year long hiatus after that, spanning the rest of my 20s. During that time I fell in love, became addicted to a little RPG game called World of Warcraft, and then finally had a child. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2012 when I had a very vivid ‘writer’s dream’ about two female characters who were in a loving relationship and a male character who had a thing for one of them.
This was ‘All The Things She Said’ coming back to taunt me with a vengeance. That, paired with the fact that I’d just received a gift from a friend encouraging me to “never give up on my dreams”, made me realize that it was time to start writing again. I knew it right away, and this time I wasn’t going to ignore it. Fate was sending me the piece I was missing from the first plot I had thrown together. A boy.
I developed another plot, focusing on, like before, the girls being suppressed by society, and fear of their parent’s reactions. (A little less by society and a little more by their parents reactions this time around, since it was now 2012 and a lot had changed in those eight years) But also dabbling with the notion of being confused of one’s true self and having the courage to follow that confusion into an unknown world in order to find an answer. I wanted to show that finding yourself, truly allowing yourself to explore who you are, can hurt people you love but in the end it’s the only way to freedom. I wanted to tell this tale and I wanted to tell it in a way that was dramatic and exciting. I had a plan, now I had to execute it.
I told my mom all about my idea and what exactly I was trying to accomplish with the story and she was blown away by it. She loved the idea. And to this day I’ll never forget what she told me. She said, “This is the one. This is the one you’re going to publish.”
In December of 2012 my mom had a massive heart attack a week before Christmas. She was rushed to the hospital where the doctors pronounced her dead on arrival… I felt like I died with her. Utterly destroyed and broken, I decided to stop writing my book, which I had named “Bree’s Choice” at the time. I didn’t have it in me; I didn’t have anything in me anymore… I didn’t even know how I would be able to keep living in order to raise my four-year-old son. My mother was my rock. She kept me going with everything I set out to do. Everything felt pointless now.
By mid 2013, I was ready to tackle my book once again. For Mom. I was going to do this for her. I worked through the plot yet again, and decided that having only Bree’s voice wasn’t enough to tell the story the way I wanted to. It needed another perspective. Evan’s voice was introduced into the mix and ‘Till I Met You’ was born. But something still wasn’t right. Skylar’s emotions were being ignored and I really needed to express those emotions too… because I was feeling all of those emotions at the time. Loss. I desperately needed her voice as an outlet for what I was feeling with the loss of my mother. And so I decided to add a third perspective even though I was sure that it would be hard to pull off.
I renamed the book one more time. Now that Skylar’s voice would be heard ‘Till I Met You’ no longer worked. I called it ‘Keep From Falling’, a title that basically depicted what it was I was trying to do by writing the book in the first place. It fit.
Everything else after that is history. I wrote scenes, deleted scenes, and revised scenes. I created Parker’s dark past and slowly turned my antagonist into one of my favorite characters of all time. I finished my first draft of Keep From Falling in April of 2014 and silently thanked my mom from Heaven for guiding me through it all.
I set out to publish it, and although it was probably one of the most gruelling processes I’ve ever experienced, I made it through, and now all of you have a little piece of my soul to read whenever you please.