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Emily Sue Harvey: Twilight

June 28, 2018

 

“Truth is stranger than fiction,” has always been an intriguing concept to the writer in me. Most of my books start out based on true life stories that captivate me. Twilight Time was no exception. It is one of the most dramatic ones in my nine-book Story Plant repertoire.

 

Irony is that I didn’t, at first, think I could write about this harrowing personal experience. Revisiting it caused real physical and emotional meltdowns. I told Lou Aronica that I probably would not record the trauma. Ever. I wouldn’t allow my husband to discuss the life/death experience around me for weeks. It is, like my others, a set-in-fiction story that is partly based on true life. It is one that changed my course in life’s unpredictable twists and turns.

 

On New Year’s Eve, 2012, I experienced a near-death accident. I tumbled backward down fourteen steep steps in my home. My fall ended abruptly when my head pierced through a sheetrock wall at the bottom of the steps. Upon impact I saw an atomic explosion in living color and expected my twisted neck to snap at any moment. Wedged there in coiled position, I was rescued only by my husband’s quick actions of gently freeing my head from the death trap and calling 911. My neck was broken. My ankle and knee were mangled, and my entire body was battered. I was in the hospital three weeks before going home for intensive rehab. Days and nights of pain and traumatized brain challenged my will to live.

 

Yet, my survival was a doctor-declared miracle. My recovery was long and arduous. During those long bed-ridden hours, a book idea began to take root. Characters emerged with video precision. And slowly, the voyage provided a model for Twilight Time’s heroine, Rachel’s struggle through trauma. Simultaneously, her husband, Peter, experiences short-term memory lapses that unmistakably herald his family “curse,” the dreaded one that has already taken three of his older siblings and his mother. These prove so terrifying that, at times, he despairs.