A few years ago, I was a very confused person in a very confused place at a very confusing time. I spent ten-hour shifts daydreaming about a world I was creating inside my head, wishing to write. I’d grab the nearest sticky note when a sudden idea or quote came to me.
Two people drove me to begin writing: Anna Silk and Rachel Skarsten.
The actresses starred in a supernatural drama I’d been watching. The series allowed me to escape from reality for a while and I was inspired to create a world with the same effect, where imagination came to life. I was blown away by not only Anna and Rachel’s chemistry on camera but also the kindness and acceptance of the world they demonstrated in real life. I wanted to capture those values in my story and share them as life lessons among the pages.
I took inspiration from Anna and Rachel when developing my cast but my characters are their own people, not copies, otherwise there would have been no room for imagination. Embedded into their traits, however, were Anna’s determination, loyalty and heart as well as Rachel’s valour and the way she strives for her dreams despite personal tragedy.
Anna and Rachel weren’t just actresses. They were my heroes. When I flew to meet them at a convention in Las Vegas, I was a nervous wreck but I had never felt happier. I’d only written four chapters at that point but wanted to tell them about the story they were inspiring. Although I didn’t have a synopsis, I tried to explain the plot and hoped it made sense.
‘That sounds amazing,’ they said. ‘I can’t wait to read the book.’
If ever I needed confirmation that I needed to finish the story, they gave me that.
My dream to write became a quest.
I promised to have the novel finished the next time I saw them. This wasn’t easy. I still had some struggles in my life and some days I was too tired to write a single word. But, every time I doubted myself, every time I wondered why I was writing at all, I would remember Anna and Rachel’s words of encouragement, the promise I’d made.
After knuckling down and getting my head in the right space, I managed to reach the end of my story and, earlier this year, I self-published my novel. I was looking forward to presenting Anna and Rachel with copies but then the world entered lockdown. They were in one continent, I was in another. Fortunately, we organised a video call and I told them, with excitement, about my book and how I’d managed to finish it then read an excerpt.
‘We’re so proud of you,’ they said.
I realised then that they’d given me the greatest gift of all. They inspired me to chase my dream of writing a book and had given me a story to tell.
Every writer has greatness inside of them and sometimes all that’s needed is someone or something to help coax it out. I found my story and you can too. As Rachel once said: ‘You can do yourself no greater service than to dream unabashedly and go after your dreams with a reckless abandon.’