Two weeks ago, my 2-year-old went into cardiac arrest in her high chair. I happened to be home at the time, and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.
She (and I, with her) spent 10 days in the ICU, where the doctors got her heart rhythm under control and she underwent heart surgery.
In the ICU with a toddler, there’s not much to do besides watch TV and read. And when she was awake, the kiddo insisted on watching endless cartoons. So I was left to read.
The problem was that I didn’t have the brainpower for reading.
All I could do was sit and stare at my once-thriving toddler who was suddenly infantile and in pain. All I could do was worry.
A few times, though, late at night when I couldn’t sleep between nurse visits, I actually felt like reading. I had my tablet with me, loaded with e-books of all genres — and what I most felt like reading in this traumatic time was paranormal novels. So I dug into a Stephanie Green paranormal romance.
In the little bit of time I was able to read in the hospital, I escaped reality. I left the hospital room in Colorado and entered a dusty old bookstore in a rural English town.
I was reminded in these moments of the power of story … and the joy of escaping into one.
I wrote Paint It Red with the purpose of giving readers a fun escape to Santa Fe, New Mexico. At the time, I thought that purpose wasn’t “good enough” — I wasn’t out to change the world like so many other authors seem to be. And yet, that was my goal: to give the reader a fun, easy escape.
I’m back home with my kiddo, now. Her life looks a little different than it did before, with medications and implanted medical tech on her heart, but she’s going to be okay.
I’m not yet back to writing the follow-up to Paint It Red, Santa Fe Blues — we’re still adjusting as a family, and I need to catch up on two weeks of missed sleep — but I’ll get there soon. And this time around, writing a fun romp is going to be a perfectly good goal.