Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Jessica: A to Z blogging challenge.

I wanted to have a diverse group of women at the core of Going Through the Change. After all menopause comes to all the women of the world. It's hardly a homogenous group. 

The main characters range in age from 32-67. Some have married, some have children, others have neither. One is a grandmother. They have different backgrounds, different attitudes about life, different joys and disappointments. They have in common a geographical area (Springfield, a non-geographically-specific middle size city in the comic book tradition of Central City and Metropolis), menopause, and, it turns out, Cindy Liu. 

Jessica, as drawn by +Charles C. Dowd 
My youngest main character in Going Through the Change is Jessica Roark. She came to be, in part, because of a conversation I had with my friend +Elizabeth Hein , author of How to Climb the Eiffel Tower and Overlook. She reminded me that age is not the only factor that might cause a woman to go through menopause.

Jessica, at age 32, is atypically young to go through menopause. She still has small children at home (two boys, ages 5 and 3). She was tossed into hormonal chaos by ovarian cancer, which she survived. 

When the book begins, Jessica is depressed. She's still grieving for the loss of her reproductive options, and she and her husband aren't really on the same page anymore. 
Because he had known her before, known what she had been like, and loved the old her, he mourned the pre-cancer Jessica. Maybe that was the difference. That Jessica had been a lot of fun. She had hosted parties, volunteered in the right charities, represented her husband proudly at formal events.

She had been beautiful, too, glamorous, even. Jessica tugged at her worn yoga pants ruefully. It was hard to care about things like fashionable clothes anymore. It was even harder to listen to the inane chatter at dinner parties and events. It all felt so empty.

The girl in the movie didnt lose the man she had once known; she met him when cancer already had him in its sights. Jessica supposed Nathan had lost the woman he used to love, even though she was sitting on the couch today. She wasnt the same person. 
Jessica has quite a journey throughout this book and is continuing to impress and amaze me with her resilience in the sequel I'm currently writing. I hope readers will connect with and come to admire Jessica as I have.
This posting is part of the A to Z blogging challenge, in which bloggers undertake to post every day in April, excepting Sundays, which amounts to 26 postings, one for each letter of the alphabet--preferably along a theme. My postings will all be about my debut novel and my experiences writing it and seeing it published.

Blogging A to Z is a great opportunity to connect with some excellent bloggers and interesting people. I encourage you to check out other participating blogs, too!
click the image to preorder on Amazon!


  1. The more I hear about your book the more impressed I am with the depth of your characters.
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    1. Thanks so much, Natasha! That makes me so happy to hear!

  2. That's a tough journey. I know a few people who have had cancer, and not one of them is the same afterwards, but neither are their families.

    For the most part, the changes are positive - we begin to realise what really matters in life, and to see life without the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses attitude that so many of us tend to have.

    It's such an important story to share xx

    1. Thanks, Zee! Things are going to end up for the best for Jessica, I think. But she has a tough row to hoe in the first book.

  3. I'm so glad our conversations helped you shape Jessica. She is a great character. I don't think enough people realize how many cancer survivors are thrust into menopause decades before they intended to be dealing with all the ramifications of the loss of estrogen. It is just another of the I-didn't-die-now-what issues a cancer survivor deals with.

    Jessica is a neat super hero because she is an unassuming young mom that isn't so comfortable with her new abilities at first. It's neat to see her come into her own as the novel progresses. From what I've seen of the sequel (I am lucky enough to be one of Samantha's beta readers so I know what happens in book 2), Jessica is stronger than she ever expected to be. Another great post!
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

    1. Jessica is continuing to surprise me, too. Thanks for the support!

  4. I just found your blog through your posting the link on Facebook. This looks really fascinating! As a woman whose menopause is recent history, I consider this a powerful topic. I look forward to reading more.