From Melissa Graham:
About 10 years ago, I was in a very bad place. I was young, married to one of the most selfish beings I’ve ever met, and had two very young children.
I’d lost my home, my possessions– including a car, which is an absolute necessity in this city– my security, my confidence, my independence and, worst of all, my identity. Barely into my twenties, all I had to my name was the love for my babies and the pity of my family. While my children and I were stuck in my parents’ house, their father was absent, doing whatever he did to pass the time, except when he needed to “borrow” money, food, or cigarettes from my parents. Though I knew my parents loved me with all their heart, I felt ostracized by them due to their overwhelming dislike of the man I had stupidly chosen to marry. Friends, I once held close familial bonds with, kept their distance because no one wanted to deal with “the drunk idiot” that always seemed to turn up if I attempted to go anywhere. I was at my most lonely. Yes, I had my babies but they were two and one and weren’t able to hold even the shortest of conversations. Believe me, I tried.
It was in one of my darkest days, when the kids were particularly difficult, my parents were at work, and my husband was, again, nowhere to be found, that I retreated to my old bedroom and cried.
I cried and I prayed for the higher powers to guide me out of the chaotic maelstrom that had become my life. While I was laying on my bed, I noticed the small shelf in the corner and the stack of books therein. Since leaving my childhood home, my bedroom had begun a slow transformation into “guest room” but there, on that shelf, were remnants of my childhood. Books that I never took with me. There, on top, was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The first Harry Potter book I ever read. With nothing else to do, I grabbed the book and read. When my children woke from their naps, I found myself much calmer and in better spirits. I hadn’t gotten terribly far, but a few chapters was enough to pull me from my world and into one of magic and mystery. A small respite, but one much needed.
It came to be that, every time I felt like I was toeing the edge, I would grab my book and escape for twenty minutes. Twenty minutes became an hour and, the more I escaped, the calmer I became.
It was easy to get lost in the troubles and trials of fiction. Much easier than facing my own reality. When I was done with that book, I went to the library and got another. And then, another. Something amazing was happening. I stopped worrying and fighting with the horrible things in my life, and started to find peace and positivity. I tapped back into that childlike part of me that thrived on imagination. That was when I discovered the world of Online Roleplay (I give a more in-depth understanding of what Online RP is in my blog at melissaagraham.wordpress.com) and dove into writing. Five years, and several roleplay sites later, I figured out what it was I wanted to do with my life.
I wanted to be the very thing that saved me. I wanted to write. Not just write books, but create worlds and stories and people that someone could get lost it.
If I had never gotten immersed in the worlds created by J.K. Rowling, or Laurell K. Hamilton, I don’t know where I would have gone. I was mentally broken, emotionally starved, and lonely. By being able to escape, I was able to heal. The more I healed, the more control I took of my life and fought for the betterment of it. I’ve said from the start, I am not writing to make money. I don’t ache for fame or fortune. I write my stories because, somewhere out there, there is another person in need of refuge from harsh realities.
Deny the Moon, which can be found on Amazon in print and eBook format, is my first attempt to provide such an escape.
I’ve shed tears, and maybe a layer or two of sanity, as I learned, not only the book-writing process, but the emotional and mental struggles of publishing as well. It’s been three years of, a different kind of, heartache and joy. Three years of uncertainty and moments of complete clarity. Though I was often tempted by the siren’s call of the “delete” button, I pushed through until I finished. Even now, as I start on other stories and my first book sits patiently on the virtual shelves, I feel that I am walking the right path.