D'Amour Road has entered the final stages of production. My graphic artist is working on the cover right now and I plan to proofread the book one last time, although I have already read it about 18 times by now! But I'm a Type A personality, so I have to make sure that everything is absolutely perfect.
I've really enjoyed writing this book. Previously, I had only written nonfiction. For many years, I was a member of the National Organization for Women in New Jersey. I was the head of their Political Action Task Force and their Legislative Task Force. As such, I would write letters to the Editor of the local newspaper, pleas to Congressional Representatives, and short pieces for the NOW newsletter.
Since I moved to Ontario in 1988, my articles have been published by the Globe and Mail newspaper, the American magazine, Justice Denied, and the Women's Freedom Network Newsletter in Washington, DC. Women's Freedom is a dissident organization, meaning that they don't embrace the traditional feminist notions that women are still grievously oppressed. Right now, I'm not associated with any organizations. I consider myself to be an independent anarchist ;-)
I've written extensively about health issues such as thyroid disease, low blood sugar, panic disorder, menopause, arthritis, and joint replacement. D'Amour Road is my first venture into the world of fantasy and fiction, but I seem to have dragged my social work and social activist background with me on the journey.
There were so many issues that I wanted to address in this book, starting with the devastating problem of women who go missing. I also wanted to examine female friendships and the unique kind of intimacy that one friend can have with another. Cultural biases around aging and our collective fear of getting older is another topic that fascinates me. Lastly, I'm interested in the exquisitely painful phenomenon of unrequited love.
D'Amour Road gets into all of these things and more. I was inspired to write this book by the disappearance of an acquaintance of mine in 1996. The story is based in Ottawa, Ontario and I've done my best to portray the downtown core of the city, as well as the surrounding metropolitan areas like Nepean and Kanata. Although the central theme is serious, I've made my main character slightly neurotic and quirky, and I've added humor wherever possible. That's not because I think there's anything funny about missing women! But I believe that laughter is a great coping mechanism and I could never survive without it.
Just last night, I was reading about the school shooting on the Indian Reservation in Minnesota. 16-year-old Jeff Weise from Red Lake killed his grandparents, seven other students, and then himself. His father had committed suicide and his mother was in a coma. Tragic. Jeff must have been in a serious state of grief when he was put on Prozac, which has been known to increase aggression and suicidal tendencies in certain teenagers. He had just had his antidepressant dose increased.
Tears rolled down my cheeks reading that story. Sometimes, we need to distance ourselves from current events or to search for the irony and comedy in even the darkest situations.
I'm very excited about D'Amour Road and hope that you are, too! I expect to publish it within the next three to four weeks. You'll be the first to know :-)