Monthly Archives: May 2010

Wisdom: It’s Not Always Conventional

Conventional wisdom says that first novels are usually autobiographical. Conventional wisdom isn’t always right. Unlike Elaine McKenzie, the main character in Yard Sale, I have never been a single parent, and I have sons, not daughters. There are, of course,  elements in the story that reflect my personal experience.

On a spring afternoon when I was seven, my oldest sister drove away to do some research at the library. She never returned. A car ran a stop sign and killed her a just a few blocks from the library. In the years that followed, our family unraveled. When I was fifteen, my father, unable to shake the depression that had dogged him since my sister’s death, committed suicide.

I learned the most important lessons of my life at an early age. Never assume you know the plot of your own story because control, as Hart Cameron tells Elaine at one point in Yard Sale, is just an illusion. Take nothing for granted—not your family, your health, or your financial security. Finally, even though we don’t have complete control over the events in our lives, we do control the choices we make relative to those events.

The characters in Yard Sale face unexpected events and tough choices. Elaine is forced to choose between doing the right thing and doing her job, and then between her job and her daughter. Hart must choose whether to live, merely survive, or quit the field altogether. And Elaine’s daughter Nicole has to choose between the good-girl path she’s always taken and a walk on the wild side. They all learn valuable lessons from their choices. I hope you find their struggles interesting and entertaining.

Yard Sale is available through Amazon.