Today I would like to welcome Kimberly S. Young, the author of The Eighth Wonder!
A modern Bridges of Madison County, Nicole Benson, 35, is an ambitious college professor with dreams of teaching at an Ivy-league university until she falls in love with Tom Ryan, 44, married 23 years and shattered by his daughter’s death from leukemia.
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 homebound 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 I found 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 in his life.
It is so much different to fall in love when you are older. I wanted The Eighth Wonder to capture that feeling. That difference of falling in love at an age when love is much deeper. It is fairly easy to fall in love in our 20s with our lives ahead of us. It is a different experience in our 40s or 50s (or beyond). After our expectations for relationships have evolved, falling in love takes on an entirely different meaning.
I wanted The Eighth Wonder to feed that romance in all of us but also to capture the hardship of falling in love and make the story very human and very real.
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!
Sounds good right??
Well you can your copy of The Eighth Wonder at Barnes and Noble and Amazon!
Have a great day everyone! :)
The Romance Bookie :)