by Heather FitzGerald @WriteFitz
They say to, “Write
what you know.” Yes, that elusive group of insider-experts (aka they)
are always quick to dispense wisdom and point out where we fall short. Alas,
they are unparalleled in their counsel and we must strive to meet their
But aren’t they
also the ones that said ‘rules are made to be broken’? I think they might be
For this post,
let’s focus on the first platitude. Writing what we know is sage advice with
which we would all agree, rule-breakers or not. And if there’s a necessary
subject that we don’t know? Well, that’s why God made Google (on the eighth day of
creation, I believe).
So, what do you
Probably not the
same things that I know. Our differences as writers are what fill library
shelves with a plethora of choices for readers. One person’s life experience
can speak truth or give clarity to someone else. It’s a beautiful thing. And if
our own odyssey is still a work in progress, or a tale that ended in tragedy,
we can use our writing as a therapeutic tool to process those things that we
don’t always understand. A type of living journal, storying allows us to work
through issues and wrestle with problems in a way that we may not have the
opportunity to do in the here-and-now.
In writing my
fantasy novels, The Tethered World and The Flaming Sword, I did a
lot of this ‘write what you know’ stuff. And most of those ideas came from
positive aspects of my life. From restaurants, to hometowns, to character
names, I borrowed from my childhood and friendships to craft my tales.
But there’s one
particular issue that is dear to my heart. It’s been the biggest test of my
life. Although dealing with it day to day runs the gambit from easy-peasy to
hospital visits, I wove it into my story so that it gave a sense of
satisfaction and joy that my family doesn’t normally encounter in dealing with
It is the issue
of my son’s autism.
Not to say that
he doesn’t bring us great joy. Or that we haven’t been blessed beyond measure
in many ways thanks to the gift of his autism. However, the world in which we
live is shattered. There are heartaches and hurts associated with the
challenges of a disability that this mother’s touch cannot fix. But I can write
a different journey for him in the pages of my books. And so I did.
I didn’t take
away his autism in the character of Brock Larcen, but I decided to make it a
qualification for something most of us wouldn’t expect: kingship. Brock’s
unique quirks and abilities make him tailored to the task of ruling a realm of
Gnomes entrusted with protecting a powerful sword that harkens back to the
Garden of Eden.
The Gnomes of
Vituvia are the friends my son has never had. They love him, understand him,
and look up to him. Although the Gnomes protect him, they also need him. These
powerful little friends and Brock’s kingship are a gift I have given my son
because I cannot fix the brokenness of the world around him any more than I can
fix the brokenness within him.
There will be a
day when all of our questions are answered. When the imperfect will become
perfect (1st Corinthians 13:10). A day that will complete all that we lack and
make each of our stories into a happily-ever-after. Like C.S. Lewis wrote in The
Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring
Until that day,
I’m thankful we have stories to read and to write. It’s not that I don’t accept
things as they are, it’s that I know where our destiny lies. I know what
happens in the end of The Book. Looking at the future gives me a better
perspective of the present.
experiences have you had that would make a great story? Have you written it
yet? We need to learn from each other.
and her family are slowly recovering from their life-altering trek to the
Tethered World. That is until their aunt arrives clutching a mysterious letter
and sporting a black eye. The letter that Aunt Jules shares with the family
writhes with sinister implications. A new and menacing enemy has slunk from the
shadows and is conspiring to seize the most powerful piece of weaponry in the
land: The Flaming Sword of Cherubythe. The sword must—at all costs—be kept from
the enemies who lust for its power.
extends to Sadie’s autistic brother Brock. As High King in training, he now
resides in the Tethered World, within close proximity to the sword. It’s
apparent that drastic measures will be required by all in order to protect what’s
most important. Can Sadie once again confront her disabling fear, stare evil in
the face, and walk away whole—let alone alive? How can one teenage girl and her
family save a sword with the potential to start a world war? Will lines be
crossed even as Sadie’s faith is tested? Sadie knows it’s going to take a lot
more than strength, grit, and courage to survive.
FitzGerald lives in Texas with
four someones that call her mom and one special someone that calls her his
wife. Her YA Fantasy The Flaming Sword releases November 1st on Amazon
and other online retailers. Heather is a member of ACFW, North Texas Christian Writers, and helps to
facilitate the Manet writer’s group. She loves drinking ice lattes, cloud
watching, and getting lost in a good book.
You can connect
with Heather on her website/blog
, and Goodreads