In All Honesty
The next Paradoxical Commandment on the list ~~ Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. ~~ is exemplified perfectly in what author, Elizabeth Ann West, shares today.
You Can't Shake Me
by: Elizabeth Ann West
I am a last wife. Not a second wife. Not a new wife. The last wife. There is only one way my husband and I are getting out of this marriage and it involves a funeral director. Cheating? I know my values and his, and even should he falter, I'd make him miserable before I'd give him to the hussy! Abuse? Therapy or jail time would be my first solution.
Anyway, it's not easy to be a last wife and, in my case, a stepmother to such a wonderful young man with a birth mother, who drives me crazy. Polar opposites still have too much in common to describe how I compare to my husband's ex-wife. Yet, I have compassion for her. All those years she tried her absolute worst to get rid of me made me want to stay that much more. Plus, she contributed to the success of my marriage and she probably doesn't even know it!
Without the failure of his first marriage, I wouldn't have the wonderful man I married. I'm not talking about, she's gone so now I can have him. I didn't know him when they split up. I'm talking about how my husband IS a better man from those wounds and mistakes. The ex-wife was the one to, figuratively, hang herself, but my husband was so inexperienced and spiteful, he provided her ample rope to do so.
Enter my character, Anna. There is a great deal of me in Anna, Johnathan's stepmother in CANCELLED. As a character, she can be the hardest to understand. She is 100% devoted to her stepson, but she never had children of her own. Not for lack of trying, just fertility options in the late 80s/early 90s weren't the greatest. My own two-year-old daughter is our fertility miracle. Taking on the role of substitute mother to her stepson, alienated her from her own family. In my case, for the first few years, the more I did as a stepmother for my stepson, the more my husband's family ostracized me.
In CANCELLED, there are very serious skeletons in Anna's closet. She isn't the pure force of good the reader thinks she is for most of the novel. And, while I don't want to ruin the surprise, all I can say is that to understand her motivation, remember this: sometimes when you feel like you're losing everything, the only option is to hold on tighter. That is where her decision came from. I was never faced with the exact scenario she faces in the book, thankfully. But there was a time when I wondered...I wondered if the stress and insane drama I endured to join the West family and take on the ex-wife were even worth it. Luckily, my gut reaction was to hold onto my man with even more resolve than the people trying to make me let go.
So, yes, I am that You-Can't-Shake-Me-Stepmom, last wife. It wasn't where I imagined myself when I dreamed of getting married and starting a family, but the benefits of my husband's and stepson's love far outweigh the negativity from outsiders. Writing CANCELLED was about capturing the modern romantic dilemmas people face in today's crazy world. There are no easy answers to our love lives and no one gets the fairy tale anymore, if they ever really did. But, it's about real love in the face of adversity, especially the love of a parent for any of their children.
Thank you so much for letting me visit Words from the Heart. I am humbled by the generosity of so many book bloggers, like Linda, who volunteer their time and their talents to contribute to the world of reading. :)
As a special thank you to readers this month, I am giving away a free, signed ebook to everyone who signs up for my newsletter. (The newsletter comes out every 25th and covers my latest projects, books I've read, and technology tips for our crazy, digital lives. This is, logistically, the easiest way I can learn the ebook format you need and the email address to send it.)
Also, every Saturday there is a drawing for a signed, annotated paperback of CANCELLED from the readers who signed up for my newsletter that week. So far, I'm working through 100+ signed copies and 2 paperbacks have been won. I am tickled pink to write each reader their own personal note, so please be patient as it takes me a little time to make each ebook file. But when you get yours, I can honestly say, there isn't another CANCELLED ebook like it!
Elizabeth Ann West is a Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none! After writing non-fiction professionally for three years, she made the jump to fiction in 2011 with her debut novel, CANCELLED. A chicklit/romance from the male POV, Elizabeth's novel challenges the conventions of modern romance. CANCELLED is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as both an ebook and paperback. Elizabeth also writes regular posts about technology subjects on Mark Williams international, and her sites eawestwriting.com and eawestwriting.blogspot.com.