WELCOME DEBRA McKENNA
With a degree in English and graduate work in Creative Writing, Debra McKenna worked as a feature writer and editor for city magazines in Sacramento, Denver, Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas for over nine years. Recovering from Life is her first novel.
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Guest Post by Debra McKenna
Fiction—what a wild, wild world. I came to this realm after ten years as a writer and editor for city magazines where I confronted topics as technical as heart surgery and as fluffy as the latest trends in home décor. Though these topics were diverse, they all had one thing in common: they were based in fact. So, just imagine how I had to murder that little reporter/editor who was hovering at my back and drooling on my shoulder at every turn. In fact, I think I’m still trying to squeeze the life out of her.
But, before making this shift from non-fiction to fiction, I had to become inspired. And that inspiration came after bartending through six years of college as I studied English and Creative Writing. While working “the planks” at a popular nightspot in a Northern California city, I became an observer of humankind and a student of life. When those two things didn’t kill me, I started writing.
After I’d created a couple of interesting characters, most likely amalgams of the nut-burgers to whom I’d served drinks, I began to notice our current culture’s penchant for using rehab to deal with various “issues.” With that realization came another—pretty much everyone one has some peccadillo. So, when are these issues rehab-worthy and when do they simply define who we are? In the end, we all have some troubling behaviors, be they eating habits, shopping habits, drinking habits, or romantic habits, habits being the operative word.
Recovering from Life is the story of Stephanie McCarthy and her rollicking road to redemption. After Steph’s husband disappears, she confronts her own issues while triumphing over hardship, some of which was of her own making. While her trials and ultimate redemption involve serious issues, they’re seen through a clear lens of humor. After all, life really is quite funny when it isn’t driving us nuts. Or, perhaps more accurately, finding it funny is what keeps us from going nuts. In truth, we live in a crazy world.
The fiction writing process is a unique one. The writer gets to invent a world and all the people in it—and even decide what comes out of their mouths. For me, it was essential to have a strong narrative voice, a main character who would grab readers’ hearts and minds but also keep them giggling. And keep them giggling over topics that aren’t so funny at times.
As such, the rewrite of each chapter, the fine-tuning of each draft of the book, required focusing from a different angle. First: just the facts, ma’am. Second: what’s your point, darlin’? Third: is this road taking us anywhere? And, fourth: could you please make us chuckle some more? As a fact-finding reporter type, when I began this project I had only a rudimentary idea of what I was jumping into. I started with a premise and an ending to my story, and then I let my characters take me for a ride. When one of the characters misbehaved too badly or took me somewhere too odd, he or she got a spanking.
As I start on the sequel to Recovering from Life, vigilantly plotting my story line, I have the feeling the characters are going to take me riding to the edge of reason again while laughing madly the whole time. Sometimes irony is the best way to get a point across.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A story of humor and hope.
Recovering From Life is the tale of 39-year-old, redheaded spitfire Stephanie McCarthy’s rollicking road to redemption. A gifted freelance writer in Northern California, Steph works days hawking frozen foods while her life limps along. Until her husband, Kenny, disappears into the crack ghetto. His descent into addiction catapults Steph onto a wild ride that feels unendurable—but ultimately leads to her own self-discovery.
Marooned in a state of financial doom, legal tangles, and emotional turmoil, Steph navigates the pitfalls of her new path, which takes her into the realms of drug dealers, high finance—and hot romance. With her wisecracking buddy, Lee, and other surprising allies at her side, Steph begins to rebuild her world as she stumbles into her blind spots and wrestles with her faulty guy-radar.
When Steph at last spies the “Welcome to Reality” sign at the end of the road, she realizes that her job is to heal from a life she never chose—and to recover from the one that she did. But while she rides that roller coaster of recovery, Stephanie has one hell of a good time.
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
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