My Beloved, Yosemite-Set, New Adult Rock Climbing Novel

by Megan on Monday, October 24th, 2016 No Comments

Yosemite Valley

At the top of a short climb in Yosemite Valley

When I first posted the news that my novel, Lessons in Gravity, was going to be published, I called it “my beloved, Yosemite-set new adult novel.”

And beloved it is.

This manuscript has been with me for much longer than any author would want to spend on a single project, a true “work-in-progress as I revised, revised again, and revised some more over the years. In all, from start to publication day, it has been five years. Even longer if you count the pre-writing time, where I was sketching out plot lines, developing characters in my head, and brainstorming onto one of my trusty spiral notebooks.

But I suppose I have a few excuses. In between drafting, editing, pitching, and then preparing this book for publication, a lot was going on in Westfield family life.

  1. Day job.
  1. I had my first baby (Wild Thing I) and discovered that maternity leave would not, in fact, be a three month novel-editing paradise while the newborn dozed in the bassinet. In fact, I didn’t start writing again until Wild Thing I was six months old, and that was only because I was back at work full time and was writing during my lunch breaks.
  1. We moved from Northern California to the California’s Central Coast for Mr. Westfield’s job. New jobs, new house, new daycare, new utilities, new doctors, etc.
  1. We moved again, also for Mr. Westfield’s job, this time from the Central Coast to San Diego. Repeat tasks from #2, only this time doing so while eight months pregnant.
  1. Wild Thing II arrives. No more writing or editing for six months.
  1. We move yet again, this time only a few blocks away, from our temporary apartment to a house that will likely be our “forever home.”

It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I pulled Lessons in Gravity back out. By this point, I was already working on my next manuscript, but I really, really still loved Lessons and decided to give it one more chance. And I’m glad I did!

On a route in Yosemite

On a route in Yosemite

Lessons is beloved not only because of how it’s been with me through all these life changes—kind of like a good friend or the Little Engine that Could—the subjects are very important to me as well. As I mention in the book’s acknowledgements, my husband and I spent many weekends rock climbing in Yosemite during the early years of our relationship. Back then, I had just gotten out of the Navy (talk about a life change!), and I think that made me extra-receptive to the beauty of the park and the freedom I felt during those lazy but strenuous climbing weekends.  Also, the park is a really, really romantic place to hang out with your future husband. J

When I wrote the first draft of the Lessons, I didn’t know it, but for kid-reasons and geography-reasons, our Yosemite climbing days were drawing to a close. (We still climb when we can, but a lot of things have to line up, namely, traveling to a location where we could climb and having family around to watch the kids so we can get away for a day.) So, in the end, Josh and April’s story became extra-beloved to me because it was a way for me to keep my own experiences in Yosemite alive, all with the hope someday passing a piece of that along to readers.

Posted in Adventure Sports, Books, Lessons in Gravity, New Adult, Outside, Writing.

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