It’s the beginning of a whole new year; what time could possibly be better to become more motivated and inspired? You have a whole 365 days ahead of you, and now is the time to start making them count, so we're asking authors what they've got planned for the year ahead!
Jane Godman tells us about the hardest year of her life and how 2019 will, for her, involve digging deep for positivity.
My Unfinished Story
“Goodbye hurts the most when the story isn’t finished but the book is closed forever.”
“A Fresh Start” isn’t an easy subject for me to write about. That’s because, without warning, my life changed forever. Even though the worst things in my life happened in 2018, I can’t call it the worst year of my life. My first granddaughter—third grandchild—was born in 2018. Instead, I’m calling it the hardest year of my life.
There was no clue, during the first two thirds of 2018, of the devastation to come. Stewart, my husband of thirty-six years, and I enjoyed a lovely holiday in Spain in May. We celebrated my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary in March, and the highlight of our year was a special family holiday with our children and grandchildren in August.
Then September came along…
There was nothing unusual about the day Stewart died. He was his usual laughing self, playing with our three-year-old grandson and chasing him around the garden. He cooked dinner, and we were watching television in the evening when he started to experience chest pains.
He died in the early hours of the next morning after suffering a massive heart attack. He’d had no symptoms and, until then, he had been strong, vibrant, and healthy.
I’m not going to dwell too much on the pain of how it felt to lose the man I’ve loved since I was eighteen. He was my always and my everything, and following his death I focused on getting through each hour…Sometimes each minute.
But life decided I needed more challenges. On the morning of Stewart’s funeral, I found a lump in my left breast. Two weeks later, I was diagnosed with Grade 3 cancer. It had already spread to my lymph nodes.
And that’s how 2018 taught me life can change without warning. For me, next year will be about chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy. It will also mean digging deep to find the positivity I need to fight this horrible disease without my love at my side to hold my hand. My goal is to beat this thing. For both of us.
Stewart and I never took each other for granted. We knew how lucky we were. We said “I love you” every day. But we thought we’d have longer than this. 2018 has shown me the importance of appreciating the time I have with my loved ones. We’ve always been a close family, and we’ve drawn strength from each other in this dark time.
Writing has always been my therapy. Even so, it took a hit in the first weeks and months after Stewart’s death. I write romances and the sweetest love story of them all was my own. But how could I give my characters happily-ever-afters when my own heart was broken? It felt like my creativity had drained away.
Gradually, I found myself wanting to write again. My productivity has slowed, but I still feel like me. I’m surprised, but also relieved, that Jane Godman’s voice hasn’t been changed by these experiences.
If I’d been writing this in May, or even August, I might have been keen to talk about a new direction for my writing. But, because of the way events have unfolded, I will be sticking with what I know in 2019. Sometimes familiarity is best.
I’m writing more books for Harlequin Romantic Suspense in 2019, including a Christmas Coltons story, which is an exciting new venture for me. I’m also planning to self-publish the next two books in my Georgian Rebel historical romance series.
I find it hard to look ahead to the new year. That’s most likely because recent events have taught me to be fearful of change.
No matter what the future holds, I will always believe in love and romance, and I hope 2019 brings each of you your own happy endings.
Jane's latest release, Captivating the Bear, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.