Do you remember the old adage: when handed lemons, make lemonade? Well, that is exactly what I did while writing my 8th book, The Lush Life, in my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series. I was trying to tie up that mystery and could almost see the end in sight, but unfortunately, a terrible accident happened. As I was researching a scene in the book (which involved climbing & descending 150 year old dimly lit steps in an old Victorian cottage) my foot went off the edge of a lower step on the way down. My right foot twisted to the side and bent sideways. I heard bones crack as I fell hard to the enclosed landing in a heap after bouncing off the walls.
I literally saw stars, rocking back and forth, breathing in and breathing out, practically biting my lip to the bleeding stage just to deal with the pain trying to straighten my useless swollen ankle that was clearly broken. I was lucky I had people there with me to practically carry me to the car and take me to the ER at the hospital immediately.
I had suddenly found myself sidelined from finishing my mystery, seeing weeks and months of recovery ahead of me. After x-rays, I found out my ankle had a clear break on one side laterally and was fractured going up on the other side. But in a way I was lucky. I didn’t need surgery with screws implanted, just a leg cast to my toes, dealing with excruciating pain, being wheelchair bound, using crutches, and eventually ending in rehab learning how to walk all over again.
After a week of being flat on my back with my leg elevating my purple toes and thinking, I figured I had to make this work for me somehow. So I did the unexpected. I changed the ending of my mystery to incorporate my whole experience, which included being wheelchair bound and being confronted with the antagonist at the end in a climatic scene. It was very cathartic to express my emotions and my experience at the hospital (which included going into mild shock) and getting all those details down before they became hazy with time.
I had found my ending!
Who says you can’t save the day on your ass after the evildoer steals your wheelchair from you?
As a matter of fact, I began my 9th mystery, Too Close For Comfort, while still in rehab learning how to walk again, taking the reader through what I went through to keep it true to what I (I mean, Sam) was experiencing, having someone approach me while in rehab and dragging back in time to a mystery from my past and it worked perfectly!
To this day, I marvel at how I was able to turn the tables on an unfortunate situation into one of a creative process that kept me from going stir crazy and also stayed true to the facts at hand as I merged it into my fictional mysteries.
And I did it with humor to boot!
When I was handed a bunch of lemons, I turned it into lemonade with a sweet finish!
Remember, everyday is a blessing. Don’t take it for granted.