I almost hate to use the word pandemic in this post, but it’s unavoidable. Don’t run off though! As much as we are sick of hearing about pandemics, masks and social distancing, it is still good to sit back and reflect, and consider what’s changed and how to move forward. Today I am narrowing in (I almost wrote zooming in, but that felt triggering too) on the pandemic and my writing.
I was halfway through writing my debut when my son was diagnosed with Adrenoleukodystrophy. I was a changed person when I finished that novel. I was aware of fear and loss in ways I hadn’t been before his diagnosis. I was also more keenly conscious of how others could lift me up, of my faith and of my love for my family. Other life events since then have confirmed to me that major events leave permanent marks on us (both good and bad) and as an author, they also affect writing.
The pandemic is not as personal as my foster care journey or raising a medically fragile child, it’s something we’ve endured as a group. It’s a shared experience, one that we are likely sick of, but also one that we will always be able to relate to each other about. On a personal level, the pandemic has not only changed the practical nature of writing for me (with my kids home, I have had to learn to write in smaller doses, versus my preferred big chunks of time), but it has also affected the stories I write.
During the pandemic I have become more aware of other’s loneliness, more conscious of our ability to reach out in creative ways, more mindful of how small gestures can brighten days and increasingly in awe of the importance of family and faith. Whenever I grow as an individual, those newly learned skills or lessons tend to sneak their way into my writing (usually without even knowing it). In a way, readers will get to know me, through my fictional characters and their journeys.
I hope that with each novel I write I dig a little deeper into the human heart and experience, while still sending readers on a romantic adventure that leaves them with a happy sigh and all the feels. During this pandemic the need to be entertained, swept away and encouraged by stories has been emphasized. We need each other! I’m sure we knew that before, but we know it in a whole new way now. It’s my hope that my latest release A Lady in Attendance, will remind readers of their importance, of forgiveness and of the healing power of love. Hazel is lonely, not because of a pandemic, but because she doesn’t know where she belongs in the world. Friendship changes everything in her story, in much the same way that connection and friendship can change so much for us.
That was a very long way of saying that the pandemic has affected my life and writing, my reading and family, and my heart.
Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs, Yours Truly, Thomas, and A Life Once Dreamed. Fans expect stories with heart, and she delivers, diving deep into the human experience and tugging at reader emotions. She loves
connecting with people, traveling to new places, and daydreaming about future projects that will have sigh-worthy endings and memorable characters. She is a busy
mom, raising both biological and foster children (a cause she feels passionate about). She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.