The idea for A Distant Voice came to me in two stages. The first part was simple. I wanted to explore the relationship between two sisters, and just how much they’re willing to sacrifice for one another. I belong to a large family; I’m one of nine; and I’m in a fortunate position where I consider them not only siblings, but friends as well. And that’s exactly what Violet and Rose are. They are sisters and best friends.
And I wanted a story that paid tribute to the influence that my grandparents had on my life. Violet comes from a broken family and while her mom struggles with her own demons, it’s her gran who is the pillar of strength. The light in her darkness.
So that was my initial idea. There wasn’t much of a story there yet, but I managed to get some words on paper before leaving it to sit for a while.
The second stage came courtesy of my obsession with the TV show, Nashville. I’d be listening to the soundtrack on my iPod every day as I walked to and from work, and walked my dog. When I wasn’t listening to it, I had the songs stuck in my head. Seriously, I was obsessed! I was walking home from work one day, listening to the Season 1 soundtrack, and I thought ‘hey, I should write a story about a country music star who is in love with her guitar player’. Oh, wait a second…
I scratched that idea pretty quickly.
But the idea of country music being part of a story stuck and Violet popped back into my head. And I realized this belonged to her story. The idea of her gran being a former country music star came just as I walked past the old church that all of my grandparents attended at some point in their lives and I heard Violet’s voice in my head. I choose to see that as fate. The universe’s way of telling me that I was on the right path with this story.
I stewed on the idea for a few weeks, turning it over in my head until it resembled something coherent. Luckily for me, Christmas break was right around the corner and on day one I sat down and wrote out my outline. I then turned on my laptop and two weeks later I had the majority of my first draft done. Unfortunately I returned to work exhausted and as pale as a ghost because I’d spent the entire two weeks locked away writing instead of enjoying the sunshine, but it was worth it.
I had the first draft finished in another two weeks and I handed it over to a trusted friend who read it and then was kind enough to sit with me for hours and go through it all. Her advice helped form the second draft and I had that finished in just over a week. It then went into the hands of one of my sisters, who gave me the nicest piece of feedback possible. She didn’t want it to end. You’ve got to love hearing that!
A third draft was quick to follow and by March I began the submission process (that tale is for another week).
I’ve never written a book as quickly as I did A Distant Voice (and probably never will again). The words flowed, Violet’s voice never wavered, and I loved every second of it.
I love Violet, even when she’s doing something that has me wanting to throttle her, and I can’t wait for you all to meet her.