I don’t know why I’m so easily seduced by what the ‘experts’ tell me, but I often am. Love Is All was ready months ago, proof read, cover designed, edited and ready to go, but then I decided to put it up for pre-order instead of selling it immediately. The reason given by the ‘experts’ is that when you have hundreds of pre-orders and they all hit the for sale button at the same time, it does wonderful things for your ranking on Amazon. And a high ranking means more sales. Great theory, or so I thought. And it probably works if you’re Ken Follett or William Boyd. I should have considered what I do myself when I see that a book isn’t available for immediate purchase—I move on to something else and maybe go back later, or maybe forget about it altogether. So my next new novel will go on sale immediately—unless someone persuades me differently.
I wrote the first draft of Love Is All over ten years ago. I can’t really remember what gave me the idea for the story but I was reminded of it just last year. I was at the International Women’s Day Conference in Marbella and one of the speakers at the dinner on the evening before the conference, spoke (through her partner and carer) about living with Locked In Syndrome. This attractive, confident, smiling woman was in a wheelchair and communicated by using an alphabet board. When her partner pointed to a letter she would signal if it was the one she wanted. To all intent and purposes she lived a very restricted life but that didn’t prevent her from telling her own story and describing her personal struggle to live her life. She was an example to us all and she convinced me that a tragic story doesn’t have to have a tragic ending. Meeting her inspired me to dust off my old manuscript and publish it. So here it is.
Love Is All tells the story of a family still grieving after the death of the youngest son, five years previously. Teresa, Mark and their two grown-up sons are at last coming to terms with a life without him, when the harmony of their home is shattered by Mark’s confession. Distraught with grief and rage, Theresa runs out of the house and drives off into the night; she crashes her car and is seriously hurt.
Months later, when she eventually comes out of a coma, her family are devastated to hear that she has Locked-In Syndrome. She is effectively locked inside her own body and unable to communicate with anyone.
For Teresa it is a nightmare from which she cannot wake. When she realises the enormity of her plight she is unable to accept it and decides to seek refuge in an imaginary parallel world, a world where she is a desirable woman again. She refuses to acknowledge either the doctors or her family, but Ian, her younger son, will not let her go; he persists in every way he can to give her back the will to live.