Have you always had a desire to write?
I think everyone has a book in them! I tried to write a couple of times in my life, and I’m not sure what made this one “stick.” Honestly, my brilliant husband came up with the idea, and we spent a lot of time talking about and planning the story on our weekly drives up to our cabin in Crown King. We had to narrow down the places from about twenty that we could have chosen, to the seven in the book. Which flows into the next question…..
Was there a specific inspiration for this book?
As I mentioned, my dear husband came up with the idea, and was supposed to co-write it. However, as great as he is, he is the ultimate procrastinator and the book would never have been written if I had waited for him. At the time that we started conceptualizing the book, my sister was ending her battle against breast cancer, and so my sweet sister Kelly was definitely an inspiration for the character of Bridge. I also have to say that travel was also a huge inspiration, because travel is so special to me. Not a lot of people know this, but I fought a long time against panic and became agoraphobic for about a year (afraid to leave the house). Travel became my way of proving to myself that I had won against my personal demons, especially getting into a plane for the first time. I couldn’t fly for over 10 years, and really did have to go to Fear of Flying seminars, get a lot of counseling, and I still do the humorous rituals from the book (Lucky Flying Shirt, Lucky Flying presents, Lucky Flying….oh, never mind, you get the picture). I still go through about two weeks of extreme anxiety before we fly anywhere, but I force myself to do it because I won’t ever give in again.
Did you ever experience writer's block? If so, how did you deal with it?
After about six months of writing, and completing about 1/3 of the first draft, I put it down for about a year because I just didn’t know where to go with it. My friend Annliza asked what had become of the book, because she had seen the initial chapters and was intrigued by it. Then she did that special thing that only sisters and best friends can do; she nagged me incessantly to finish it. I literally had to send her a couple of pages (at least) per day, or she would get on my case. Every writer needs someone like that; someone that believes in them and is supportive throughout. Once I started back on it, the book just took on a life of its own and, as silly as this might sound, it knew where it wanted to go!
Did you have the entire story planned out somewhat before you wrote the book? If so, did you make a lot of changes to what you had originally planned? Or did you just plan the story as you wrote?
I guess I answered that question in the last response. I will also add that my hiking buddy, Carole, did have to listen to story lines incessantly as we tramped up and down Camelback Mountain. She would offer suggestions, and let me know if something sounded too far-fetched or trite. Really, the book started with my husband asking this sentence: “What if you wrote a book about two people that loved to travel together, but one of them dies and the other has to go back to their favorite places to spread their ashes?”
Out of all the trips they took, I think my favorite one was the trip they took to the Himalayas. Which one was your favorite? Which was the easiest for you to write? Which was the hardest? Why?
I’m anticipating your questions! Nepal was definitely the most difficult. Writing about Crown King was a no-brainer, because that place is a book unto itself! Dingle and Vernazza are my two favorite places, and we have returned there so many times I know them like I know Arizona. Something very hard and sad has come up since the book was published; Vernazza was just about destroyed in a mudslide at the end of October. It makes me so sad to think of that beautiful city in Italy, completed evacuated, a shell of its former beauty. I am donating proceeds from the book sales to the Save Vernazza website.
I received my copy of Magic Bridge free from the author. If you would like you own copy of this wonderful book, I have provided an Amazon link for it below.