Delightfully Busy…the Genesis

This is just a note to say I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth! I’ve been busy preparing material for Web of Angels–the genesis and answering interview questions for two publications, one local and one national, and writing up a submission for a conference that I may be able (and would be thrilled) to attend.

For now, here’s how I came to write Web of Angels:

Web of Angels began in the fall of 2004 with a question: what would a mom with multiple personalities see that nobody else could? Then on Christmas Eve, a friend sent me a link to a news story that haunted me—a pregnant young woman was found dead, her baby crudely extracted. Miraculously, an internet trail led to recovering the newborn alive and capturing the perpetrator, a woman who wanted a baby.

At the time I was a mom with a baby and a pre-schooler at home, staying sane by hanging out in an internet chat room for people healing from difficult life experiences. We commiserated about the terrible twos, joked around, and talked about the worst that humans can do. In the chat room I encountered the strangely wonderful way that many people there had survived early trauma, by developing multiple personalities. The reality was nothing like Sybil.

DID (dissociative identity disorder, aka multiple personalities) was in the air. Stephen Spielberg produced the highly successful, prize-winning TV series The United States of Tara. But even Spielberg, with all his connections, didn’t have what I had: intimate daily contact with dozens of people who were multiple, some of them becoming close friends, several my best friends.

I was called to this subject by something larger than myself. With a writer’s skills and a researcher’s dream database, I had to write Web of Angels. I saw it as a sacred task, and I needed that belief to sustain me through eight years of ups and downs and plain hard work. The answer to my question was a story: starting with the image of the dying girl and her living baby, propelled by internet crime, and infused with the triumph and quiet heroism of people who have an unusual way of being.

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Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

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Posted in Literary, Writing Life
9 comments on “Delightfully Busy…the Genesis
  1. litlove says:

    I loved hearing how Web of Angels came about, Lilian, and I think DID is a fascinating topic to have tackled. How excited (if a bit exhausting) to be in the midst of preparation for publication!

  2. Michelle says:

    This is a wonderful genesis story – I love hearing how novel ideas come to being and then to fruition. Am very excited to read the book!

  3. Becca says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by DID (or schizophrenia as they called it back in my day). What an exciting topic to research, and an even more exciting topic for a novel.

    I can hardly wait to read Web of Angels 🙂

  4. Beth Kephart says:

    I fully understand your great excitement and hope. I’m excited, too.

  5. Rebecca H. says:

    How intriguing! I’m happy to learn more about the book and how it came about.

  6. […] talking about new books of course – for some  their first books, for others third or fourth, and for one her […]

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