Lessons Learned From Writing A Book About A Terrible Marriage

I have known my husband for almost thirty years. A lot has happened in that time. We’ve moved five times, had two daughters, changed jobs about a dozen times, opened and closed a small business, and weathered cancer treatments. It wasn’t until I sat down to write Overlook, in which we witness a marriage in crisis, that I thought about what makes a marriage successful. Writing about Kitty and Seth Haskell’s dysfunctional marriage shed light on what was and was not working in my own marriage.

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve gleaned from the last two years of writing Overlook:

  • My husband is a pretty great guy. Writing about Seth Haskell’s jerky behavior made me appreciate what a decent individual my darling husband is.
  • Communication is key. Kitty and Seth don’t talk to each other about the important things in their marriage. If Kitty had an honest conversation with her husband about their intimate relationship, years of pain and dissatisfaction could have been avoided. When they finally have that conversation, too much damage had been done. My husband is not “a talker.” He avoids difficult conversations whenever possible. Writing about Kitty and Seth has encouraged me to corner him and tackle those tricky conversations.
  • A gilded caged is still a cage. Kitty has all the accoutrements of a perfect life, yet she is trapped. Her life is not her own. She is controlled by her husband, and to a certain extent, her mother. Writing Overlook reminded me that if you want to live authentically, you have to live your life on your own terms. No one else should be able to tell you how to live. My husband has toyed with the idea of leaving our secure suburban life behind and going on some big adventure after our girls are on their own. I think I should encourage him to pursue that dream.
  • Nothing is perfect.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. You live with someone long enough, you will find them annoying. Get over it. My husband has this annoying habit of leaving his belt everywhere – on the back of chairs, on the stairs, in the middle of the floor. It annoys me (especially since I slipped on one of his belts in 1992 and fell down a flight of stairs) but it is not the end of the world. He also gets coffee grounds all over the kitchen counter every single morning. It bugs me. On the other hand, my seeming inability to put my shoes away annoys him to no end.
  • Compromise requires two people. If one spouse is constantly giving in to the other, that’s not compromise. It’s submission. Kitty told herself that she and Seth compromised on the tricky parts of their marriage. Not true. He what ever he wanted and she also did whatever he wanted. Two people who share a life need to compromise.
  • A mother will risk everything for her children. I don’t want to give away the ending of Overlook but suffice to say, Kitty does have a breaking point.



Hello. I’m excited to participate in the Wordcount Blogathon this year. I’m not really sure what to expect, but I will post something every day. Since my book Overlook is now available as a Kindle ebook and will be released as a paperback in September, I plan to discuss some of the themes of the book as well as some other random interesting things. I hope this blogathon will force me out of my comfort zone and get me to try a few new things.


The wip it good blogfest

D.L. Hammons is running a fun bloghop today to spread the word about the great works in progress out there. Please follow the link at the bottom of this post to learn about the books coming up over the horizon. Here is the information about my next book –

WIP Title: Lara (working title)

Word Count : 91,000, as of today.

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

How long have you been working on it?: That’s hard to say. Lara was a main character in a project I started six years ago. That novel had four main characters. In year two, one character got cut entirely. In year three, another character got pulled out and became the main character of Overlook. Lara spent two years in a drawer while I worked on that book. When she emerged, she took over and the fourth character of Jane became a secondary character. I have been concentrating on the reworked manuscript for about 18 months now.

Elevator Pitch : Cancer treatment transforms a traumatized woman’s life for the better.

Brief Synopsis :  Lara Blaine thought she could escape her past by controlling every detail of her daily life, but she couldn’t control the cancer growing in her body. Through the process of treatment, Lara is forced to connect to the people around her and learn to accept love.

Are you looking for a Critique Partner?: Perhaps – I am already an active member of two critique groups but I am always looking for someone to swap chapters with.

Are you looking for a Beta Reader?: Yes, I feel the manuscript could use some fresh eyes. My critique partners liked it but I am worried that they may have missed some holes because they have seen previous drafts.

Check out these other Works In Progress at the WIP IT GOOD linky list