Why I wrote a novel about running away
I started writing what would later become An Invincible Summer seven years ago when my mother was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. It was one of the hardest times in my life. My mother is one of the most important people in my life and the idea of living without her was excruciating. I battled depression and crippling anxiety as a result. Later my anxiety morphed into what I was doing with my own life. Till then I’d been happily going with the flow but this was a wake-up call, a cliché I suppose, but one that kept me up every night with full blown panic attacks.
When my mother got better after a very long road to recovery I began thinking of running away. Not as a means to abandon your life, but to embrace a new one. I left my well paying job, complete with resident pyscho boss similar to Ria’s from An Invincible Summer where she quits on the spot. I took a 60% pay reduction to work as a journalist for a local newspaper. It was a leap of faith, but one I’ve never regretted.
During my depression one of the few things that made me feel better was writing. I started writing a book about a woman who instead of going to work one day, decides to hop on a plane instead. Of course, the first rendition was awful. Truly. I set it in Mauritius. Yes, Mauritius. Which is probably why I abandoned the book for seven years. As it didn’t really work. Then last year I picked it up again. The idea really. I was inspired by my best friend who encouraged me to relook at my old story as the premise was still there. At some point the idea really took form when I came across the legend of Ariadne – the Cretan princess who saves Theseus from the Minotaur only to be abandoned by him in a cave and how with the help of Dionysus (the god of madness and wine) she starts over.
So I deleted 24,500 words of the 25,000 word novel I had and rewrote it as An Invincible Summer. It gets its name from the Albert Camus quote :
“In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.”
It’s the story of having the courage to start again after suffering unimaginable grief, trusting in the surprising beauty of life and having the will to rediscover yourself along the way.
On an ordinary Tuesday Ria Laburinthos decides to run away. There is nothing ordinary about her decision though. It’s been coming for years. Years of grief and her dreaded job as an obituary writer. Then when her horrible boss aka ‘The devil-who-wears-Birkenstocks’ asks her to share her story, about how the best day of her life turned into the unequivocal worst, she decides enough is enough.
Which is how she finds herself on a plane to Crete bound by the tales she heard growing up from her beloved Yaya. What she doesn’t expect to find though is Elysium a thousand-year-old family vineyard that burnt down amidst a cloud of mystery, and the enigmatic son, Tom Bacchus who is trying to resurrect it.
Part love story, part mystery An Invincible Summer is a story about having the courage to start over, follow your heart, and fall in love again.
More information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads