JUST BREATHE*

just breatheIn JUST BREATHE, Sarah Moon has an alter-ego of sorts in her comic strip hero­ine, who goes through many of the same tri­als and tribu­la­tions. There’s a lit­tle bit of me in Sarah, even though she’s younger, thin­ner and more naïve than I am. That’s the fan­tasy ele­ment com­ing into play. I live deeply inside the char­ac­ters as I cre­ate them, and that’s how the sto­ries res­onate with me and, I hope, with the reader. My char­ac­ters’ lives are entirely dif­fer­ent from my own. For exam­ple, I never went through arti­fi­cial insem­i­na­tion and I’ve never been preg­nant with twins, yet the emo­tions Sarah expe­ri­ences feel very authen­tic to me.

Faced with the task of start­ing over in life (with twins on the way!), Sarah dis­plays great resiliency and depth of char­ac­ter. But she’s also flawed and con­fused at times as she faces a com­plex, larger-than-life sit­u­a­tion, yet she ulti­mately finds the inner resources she needs to grow into her new life. I was inspired by women I know and admire—my friends, fam­ily mem­bers and readers.

Sarah and Will Bon­ner have a his­tory together. She was an out­sider in high school and Will was the star jock – so, years later, how do they make the per­fect couple?

That’s pretty much the entire roman­tic arc of the story, isn’t it? Both char­ac­ters are in the process of grow­ing and chang­ing, and one of the most dra­matic devel­op­ments in the story is their trans­for­ma­tion from two young­sters who were very self-centered and dif­fer­ent to a cou­ple whose bond is forged by self­less­ness and love.

A betrayal leads Sarah back home to Cal­i­for­nia, where she recon­nects with old friends and her own past. Her home­town was the right place for Sarah to find her­self. Glen­muir, in the wilds of the north­ern Cal­i­for­nia coast, is the place where Sarah’s char­ac­ter was formed, yet she left with a lot of unfin­ished busi­ness still open. Her jour­ney of the heart leads her back to deal with old issues she never faced. The set­ting in this story is a cru­cible for this char­ac­ter. It’s also a stun­ningly beau­ti­ful locale, where metaphors for growth and renewal abound.

Will has a com­plex rela­tion­ship with his young daugh­ter. Aurora, his step­daugh­ter, was the key who unlocked Will’s best self when he first res­cued her from a fire as a tiny girl, and the bond that formed that day linked him to her for­ever. That moment really set him on the path to fig­ur­ing out who he is. He wants to be a good dad (step­dad) yet as she enters ado­les­cence, he starts feel­ing in over his head. That’s where the real­ism comes from. Most dads find pread­o­les­cent girls com­pletely con­fus­ing, yet they can’t walk away.

susanwiggsRead­ers often ask how I went from being a math teacher to romance author. Actu­ally, the leap was in the oppo­site direc­tion. At the age of three, I declared myself a writer and rarely devi­ated from that path. I became a math teacher because I needed a job, and because I have a pas­sion for teach­ing, but I never stopped telling sto­ries or dream­ing of a writ­ing career. When I was in col­lege, I was given a bat­tery of tests and assess­ments to find out what careers would suit me. My top three were writer, teacher, and speech pathol­o­gist. So far, I’ve pur­sued two out of three. Read­ers can find more infor­ma­tion at on my Face­book page:https://www.facebook.com/susanwiggs

*Original post at www.writerspace.com