I have been working on a story for a couple of years that involves a young woman, Nora Corcoran Kreuger, who is in an abusive relationship, and how her life has changed from what she envisioned for herself, and how she is actually living. When the opportunity presents to leave the relationship, Nora hopes to escape and start anew. But she soon finds it is not as easy to close one door. Her journey shows the steps both forward and backward in starting her new life. Living apart from turmoil does not necessarily mean you have gotten away from it.
I had originally continued the story as a part two, when Nora was more than a year past that trying relationship, and still working at discovering the path she was to walk. After traveling for several weeks, she finds a small town and feels the pull of moving and settling there. Could she find work that she enjoyed and had a skill for? Would this be a forever home? Was she up to meeting so many new people, exploring new hobbies? She needed to protect herself always, and live alone, but when she met a business man, feelings began to grow. Was she meant to fall in love? Did she have faith to trust in her choices and the new life?
When you write and want to sell in the fiction market, you write for a genre. But this story, as originally written, was a definite combination of women’s literature and a romance. After speaking with an agent, we agreed that this needed to be one or another, and there were two reasons for that. The story as it stood was 130,000 words, (too much for either genre) and the first half showed no signs of a romance. In a romance, the couple must meet in some way in the first couple of pages. Hence, after discussing we reached the suggestion to separate the work into two separate books. And I liked that idea; two stand-alone stories, yet connected by the protagonist. So now I am working with that in mind. I’ll keep you posted!
Below is a excerpt from the project I am currently working on. If you are interested in learning more, please use the contact link in the sidebar.
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Once more, she looked at the image she no longer recognized. What scared her most was the emptiness, the soullessness.
‘Who are you?’ she dully asked the image. ‘No one. You are no one,’ her mind promptly answered. Turning from the mirror, she heard the garage door open.
‘Early. Oh no, he’s early.’ she scurried into the kitchen, trying to arrange her facial muscles to look relaxed and welcoming.
‘Get out the pans, wash the potatoes, look busy, look busy. Why’s he home early? Relax. Calm. You can do this.’
Her hands trembled as she as removed the utensils all the while listening intently. She didn’t like him to come up behind her unaware.
Nora, like all the residents, had to spend time with Margie, the counselor employed by Assurance Abode. She hated the probing questions, the picking at the emotional scabs. She did not want to share her pain.
It was easy to talk about Alan and his abuse. Her anger at the abuse.
She found it difficult and avoided questions about Ryan and her parents. Nora bound those wounds tightly to stave off emotionally bleeding to death.
But she wanted Ryan to be off limits. She found herself glaring at Margie when she would try to get Nora to talk about Ryan. The only things Nora would talk about, was their childhood. She refused any discussion of her parents’ deaths, or rapid engagement and marriage to Alan, and the strain of alienating herself from Alan.
There was such overwhelming inner pain. Nora had trouble breathing, no amount of air seemed to fill and relieve her aching lungs. Her hands shook all the time. She felt weak, refused to eat much at all. She had no interest to work on any of her crafts. Her life felt gray, foggy, as though she lived on the cliffs of Ireland in the damp, cold winter.
After a few weeks, she began to think about her future. The most important thing to her was to cut all her ties with Alan. She wanted nothing to associate her with Krueger. She want to revert to her family name, not Krueger. She was born Corcoran, would have reverted to Corcoran if divorced, and wanted no part of the Krueger name now.
She was a little surprised at how easy that was accomplished when she applied to the court. That had encouraged some other thoughts.
Her plans had been to divorce Alan, start a small craft business, and maybe open a small shop. She still had to do something. Maybe she could take a business course and work toward opening a small business.
She owned two houses which needed to be emptied, cleaned, and sold. She would never live in either even if she decided to stay in town. Eventually, she knew she would buy something else. And that would just be hers. No other history but her own and the one she would make.
The problem and struggle would be to convince Cassie and Josh it was time for her to go.