Dream A Little Dream, Or Battling For BLUE

It’s Pub Day Eve for BLUE! I’ve been here twice before in YA (and quite a few more times in other genres), but this one means a hell of a lot to me. You see, BLUE almost never was because I quite nearly ceased to be. Five weeks before DREAMER released in 2018, I was battling for my life against a devastating brain bleed in a hospital room far from home.

I survived obviously, but lost the use of the left side of my body. As a single mom with full custody of her two kids (one of whom is special needs), who works full-time and doesn’t have family around her for a thousand miles, it was terrifying. For a writer who typed 94 words per minute and was used to words flowing effortlessly from her brain through her fingers, it was devastating.

I had a great deal of brain fog, mostly from the large levels of muscle relaxers needed to counter the extreme muscle spasticity that cramped and tightened my left arm and leg. My left hand was a useless claw. I remember taking an online typing test to see how much functionality I’d lost, and I could type eleven words a minute with an 81% error rate. Voice-to-text software was frustrating early on, as I had some “mushy speech” and it took a while to get my mouth working properly again. My optic nerve got overworked easily, giving me headaches and blurred vision if I stared at a screen too long. Fatigue was constant and often overpowering.

It was a long, hard climb to get back to really living my life as well as writing again, and I really hadn’t planned for this complex contemporary YA story that swooped in out of nowhere and ate my brain to become my next book. I guess sometimes life tosses you a curve ball and you swing for it and run like hell.

Tomorrow BLUE makes its way to bookstore shelves, and I’m intensely proud of that. This one isn’t about sales figures, or coveted author invitations, or pictures of my book in pretty tableaus on Instagram. This book, from the words in its pages to the unspoken words of the author fighting to get those words on the pages, is about resilience.

And just like Blue Mancini, I will forever believe in the power of if.

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