The power of story – isn’t it such a beautiful force in our life? A belief in this power to change us and to open us to the world has been a touchstone of my life and my work. I take my questions, my hopelessness, my wonderings and even my fascination with the world, to the page. It is there that I have the power to make a choice, to change an outcome, to project forward to what might happen next.
There are other reasons, too, of course. I write because I don’t know many other ways to process the world around me. I write because, since childhood, story has been both my sustenance and also my support.
I write because it connects me to the human condition. I write because I don’t know what I believe or understand until I write it down. I write because there’s nothing else I do as well or as frequently or with as much desire. I write because the stories inside have to go somewhere, so why not on paper? I write because I’m addicted to the rare moment when it finally works and comes together like magic. I write to bypass despair.
I take my wondering to the page — many of my novels begin with the question, “Well, how did that happen?”. And that’s what I wanted to know about C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. How improbable they were — a married woman from upstate New York with two young children and a top Oxford University scholar in early 1950. When I began to write the novel Becoming Mrs Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis, I took that question and began to write from Joy’s point of view. I wanted to write it from the key of empathy, to tell the story from the seat of her heart. I deeply desired for us to meet C. S. Lewis’s wife on her own terms, no longer listening to what others say about her, but instead to hear from her.
Why we write might be as mysterious as the origins of the Universe, but we do it because we must! As I’ve often heard, “Writing might not be a great way to make a living, but it is a great way to make a life.” And what a life of wonder it is.
Out on the 16th May, you can pre-order Becoming Mrs Lewis now.