Monday, November 7, 2016
Thanksgiving in THE YEAR OF LOVING by Traci L. Slatton
I love Thanksgiving. I love the process of being grateful, of remembering my blessings and offering thanks for them. I believe in gratitude as a way of life because it elevates us in consciousness, and Thanksgiving is a holiday devoted to this path.
While I was writing THE YEAR OF LOVING, I had to include Thanksgiving because it’s such an important holiday. But it’s more than that in the context of this novel. It’s also an opportunity for Sarah Paige, the art gallerist who is the protagonist, to take stock of her life and to reach for gratitude even when her world is crumbling.
Sarah’s life is a mess. That’s by design. I believe that one definition of “story,” a useful definition for a novelist, is that “Story is how your protagonist does NOT get what he or she wants.” Constructing a good story is a process of creating obstacles and conflicts that thwart the protagonist and force the protagonist to grow.
Sarah wants good relationships with her daughters, a thriving art gallery, and a happy love life. What she grapples with is a daughter who doesn’t speak to her and one who is off the rails in trouble, a gallery that is foundering, and a love triangle involving two men—an older man and a younger man. She also wants her beloved best friend Trudi to recover from cancer.
Thanksgiving comes and Sarah takes a close look at her life. But I tried to write this seamlessly, so it doesn’t stick out like an out-of-key note in a song. Sarah texts her daughters, wishing them a happy holiday, and only one of them responds. She understands how deeply their father has alienated them from her, their mother, and she aches.
Sarah goes to Trudi’s house for turkey dinner and she sees clearly that Trudi is ailing. Her dear friend of many decades isn’t doing well with chemotherapy.
Sarah then takes a cab to the older man’s place for dessert with him and his adult children. They make her feel welcomed and included, but she realizes that she and Carl are at different points in their life. Sarah is still in the thick of trial and tribulation, while Carl has come through to the other side.
On her way home, she bumps into the younger man, with whom she broke up a few weeks prior. Scott is accompanied by a lovely young woman and Sarah awakens to the fact that she’s jealous—she still has feelings for Scott.
With all of this travail in her life, Sarah still manages to reach for joy and gratitude. And isn’t that the mark of inner strength? Isn’t that how we learn to accommodate the unpredictability and the hardships of life?
Sarah is grateful for the adorable new puppy in her life. She’s happy that at least one daughter texted back. She’s cognizant of, and thankful for, the hospitality extended to her. She perks up when she grabs up a book about Renaissance painter Fra Angelico, because she loves art and that love nourishes her.
In the context of THE YEAR OF LOVING and also, I think, in life, Thanksgiving can be a time of taking stock, focusing on the good, and being uplifted by what we love and are grateful for.
The Year of Loving
Traci L. Slatton
Genre: Commercial women’s fiction
Publisher: Parvati Press
Date of Publication: October 10, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-942523-06-2 (print)
ASIN: Coming Soon
Number of pages: 360
Word Count: 114,000
Cover Artist: Brandi Doan McCann
Art gallerist Sarah Paige’s world is crumbling. One daughter barely speaks to her and the other is on the rails. Sarah is struggling to keep her gallery afloat in a tough market. Then she learns that her most beloved friend has cancer. In the midst of her second divorce, two men come into her life: an older man who offers companionship and stability, and an exciting younger man whose life is as chaotic as hers.
Sarah’s courage and spirit strengthen her, but how much can she bear, and what sustains her when all else falls away? Sarah finds herself on a journey that tests her more than she could ever have imagined.
About the Author:
Traci L. Slatton is the international bestselling author of historical, paranormal, and romantic novels, including IMMORTAL (BantamDell) and BROKEN; the award-winning dystopian After Series which includes FALLEN, COLD LIGHT, FAR SHORE and BLOOD SKY; the bittersweet romantic comedy THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE; and the vampire art history romp THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR. She has also published the lyrical poetry collection DANCING IN THE TABERNACLE and THE ART OF LIFE, a photo-essay about figurative sculpture through the ages. Her book PIERCING TIME and SPACE explores the meeting ground of science and spirituality.