A Brush with Death Leads to The Westward Sagas
Although I had been researching the family history for years, a close call with death in October 1998 led me to do something with my research. A serious motorcycle accident made me realize that I needed to do something to ensure that our family history was passed down to my son, daughter, and three grandchildren. I had thought before about writing the family history, but two things held me back: I didn’t know anything about writing, and, as a successful business owner, I didn’t have time to learn – or to write, for that matter. Of course, I had time to ride my Gold Wing Touring Motorcycle, but I didn’t intend to give that up for writing.
However, I had plenty of time on my hands during my three-year recovery from the accident, and I could no longer pursue my bike-riding hobby. Writing my family history became my new avocation. I took some classes and started writing nonfiction about the history of the Mitchell family. Unfortunately, while the stories preserved the family history, they didn’t maintain the interest of readers, even my own family. So I decided to use a fictional format so I could embellish the facts with imagined dialogue and scenes of what might have happened to fill in the gaps in history.
I found more time to write when my daughter Sherri, who has been diabetic since childhood, underwent a pancreas transplant. I carried my laptop to the hospital and typed my stories sitting in the lobby waiting through her surgery. Sherri is facing some new health challenges now, and I hope I won’t be writing Adam’s Daughters at the hospital.
Every family has a story worth telling – for the family members if not the world. It took a brush with death to motivate me to tell my family’s story. I’m thankful that I got a second chance, and I hope you won’t wait for such a dramatic incentive.