Thursday, August 22, 2013

It was the mini-series that sparked my writing bug

If Tomorrow Comes (IMDb)
If Tomorrow Comes,  by Sidney Sheldon, and The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough, were the books that made me put pen to paper and become an author. It was the mini-series that made me want to make it big!

My dream was to always be a movie star. Now, let's be honest, I don't know that actually being a movie star was what I wanted to be, but I wanted to play pretend forever. I got caught up in the movies, because isn't that what you're supposed to do? You're supposed to live vicariously though them. Well, I can tell you for a fact I've never been an international cat burglar and I've never lived on an sheep ranch in Australia. Thanks to Sheldon and McCullough, I was and I did!

I suppose all these years later I could actually quote most of the lines from both of these movies. Even better, I remember how they are written in the books. The words on the pages took me places even watching the physical actions couldn't take me. Mixing the two gave me the most pleasure. (Perhaps Harry Potter and Twilight fans can agree.) It's almost as if you're in on a secret. You know things they don't show you. So, if you're only watching the movie you're missing out on that secret.

Anyway, this is where my dream started. I wanted to be Meggie Cleary and Tracy Whitney. But the chances of that were slim.

The Thorn Birds (IMBd)
I wasn't alone. Let's see there were at least seven of us, if memory serves me right, that had notebooks we'd write letters in during Junior High School. Not letters from each other to each other, oh no. We had characters and those characters could do or be anyone--anything. Yes, my character's name was Jenna de Bricassart. (Real original huh?) But the point is my mind was creating!

Eventually the notebooks became mine and they sit in the basement in a box. Yes...I have them all! But over the next 25 years they would become the building blocks to my first novel. Oh, its had many names. It has even gone into the 200,000 word category. I sent it in for submission when I was sixteen. Yes, those were the first rejection letters I ever got. But it didn't stop me. In 2007 I rewrote that book I'd spent so many years of my life writing. No longer was Jenna deBricassart the main character, but a derivative of her. It didn't come in at that horrible length either. But when it was done, it was done. I set it in a box and walked away. That year I penned 12 more books.

Over the years those 12 books have become reality. The Kellers seem to have hit a cord with people looking for a family in which they can belong.

No, I may never have an international cat burglar in my books or a sheep ranch in Australia, but I will always have those first characters, whom I bonded with in book and on TV, to keep me company. Combined those two mini-series events were over thirteen hours in length. Imagine how many times you have to watch them to know all the lines.

Now...imagine how grateful I am to have watched them. Maybe someday Regan Keller will be the face on the TV screen that gets a girl to read the book and write her own. You just never know where watching TV might land you.

Happy Reading!
Bernadette Marie

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