Today Im thrilled to welcome Kimberly Young debut author of The Eighth Wonder to the blog. My question for Kimberly was simple, yet can be hugely complex to any author:
What inspired you to write your story?
As a psychologist, I have counseled men and women struggling with extramarital attractions and understand the emotional conflicts those endure who deeply value fidelity but still feel the pull of falling in love with another, even when one party or the other appears to be happily married. These experiences led me to write The Eighth Wonder.
I was home-bound for almost five months recovering from retina re-attachment surgery. This was very serious. I had surgery in both eyes. All the surgeon could say was that it was “in God’s hands now” because my left retina almost completely fell off before it was detected. I was scared. As a professor, I made an entire career from reading and writing, so the idea of potentially being blind was difficult. During my recovery, I could not drive, bend, or even poop too hard for fear of my retinas becoming dislodged. I felt pain in my eyes, something I had never experienced, both were full of blood and I looked like I was punched in the face several times. I felt embarrassed for anyone to see me.
I had always wanted to write a novel. During this time, I thought of my father who had just died. This began the journey into Nicole’s character. I started making notes, some by hand and some on the computer. My surgeon said that using my eyes was good — they were muscles in need of exercise is how he put it and writing helped take my mind off of my recovery.
Like Nicole, I was the first generation in my family to go to college and spent the early part of my life driven by career goals. I came to Bradford, Pa in 1995 when I took a faculty position at the local college to be near my father, who lived in Buffalo and was ill with pancreatic cancer. Using my own experience on how I came to Bradford seemed like a good place to start my novel.
As I wrote more about Nicole, a story popped out. As I wrote more about Tom, he reminded me of many men that I met in life, middle-aged, content in their lives and marriages yet longing for something more. Tom was not looking to have an affair. He loved his wife, Rose, and the life that they made together.
When Tom meets Nicole, something very deep stirs within him. I started looking at his relationship with Nicole from new eyes — yes, repaired now with some limitations — and I realized how I fell in love with Tom. He was a devoted family man crushed by the death of his daughter. Nicole was the only person who could heal him from his grief and loss. He becomes whole again and can help her with the loss of her father. In this process, they fall in love and the story becomes bittersweet.
Like the Bridges of Madison County, they have a difficult choice to make. Nicole finally opens her heart after years of pushing everyone in her life away. Tom has never felt happier or more conflicted when he falls in love for the second time.
Writing it became my therapy during a difficult time in my life. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world to write my novel. I didn't know how much it would impact me unlike anything I have done before. I only hope that others enjoy reading it!
Kimberly Young is a licensed psychologist, an author, and an internationally-known speaker on Internet addiction. In 1995, she founded the Center for Internet Addiction and since then she has written numerous articles on the topic including four books, Caught in the Net, Tangled in the Web, Breaking Free of the Web, and Internet Addiction: A Handbook for Evaluation and Treatment. She is a professor at St. Bonaventure University and her work has appeared in hundreds of media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek, and she has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and ABC World News Tonight. She has written creatively on and off since she was eight-years-old, mainly working on poems and short stories. While recovering from retina re-attachment eye surgery, she was homebound for several months and decided to pursue her creative writing more seriously. The Eighth Wonder is her first novel.
Today I have one eBook (pdf) of Kimberly's book The Eighth Wonder to giveaway Please just fill in the copter. A winner will be drawn after the tour end in March.
A modern Bridges of Madison County, Nicole Benson, 35, is an ambitious college professor with dreams of teaching at an Ivy-League school until she meets Tom Ryan, 44, married 23 years and shattered after his daughter's death from leukemia. A first-generation in her family to go to college, Nicole is a self-made woman. She put herself through school, sacrificing marriage and children for her career. In the summer of 1997, she finally graduates with a Ph.D. from NYU, but her life is thrust into chaos when her father is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Abandoned by her mother as a girl, her father is all she has.
After fifteen years in New York City, Nicole leaves everything and everyone she knows to teach for a year in rural Bradford, Pennsylvania to be close to him in nearby Buffalo. Now, trapped in tiny Bradford, she has never felt more alone in her life...until she meets Tom Ryan.
At 44, Tom represents what Nicole longs to be: settled, secure, and clear about his purpose and direction in life. Emotionally scarred, he and his wife are empty nesters with an older son away at college and struggle to grieve together after the death of their daughter. Tom and Nicole's story begins as a journey of self-discovery for both of them but turns to bittersweet romance when their friendship becomes love. Nicole risks offering what she has never given before, her heart; and Tom has never felt happier or more conflicted when he falls in love for the second time in his life.
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