The Shattering American Cover

Anxiety, Keri, and Me

So my friend John runs this thing where he invites people to talk about the Big Idea that lies behind their novel.

Wherein!

I talk about my anxiety disorder, and The Shattering, and where Keri came from without me realising it.

But of course Keri wasn’t really like me. She was a biracial teenager from a low-income family who wasn’t afraid of physical violence and loved sports. I was a white woman in my late twenties who shied away from physical confrontation and thought that sports were doubtless very nice for those who enjoyed them. I had far more in common with the other two narrators; smart, book-loving Sione and showy, confident Janna.

Months later, well after I’d completed the first drafts, I ended up in a counsellor’s office. I’d spent weeks unable to sleep properly. I was afraid of everything: afraid of flying; afraid that my friends and family would die; afraid that I would be kicked out of university for being stupid; afraid that my first book was incredibly racist and would hurt people; afraid of earthquakes and fires and floods; afraid that every choice I had made to bring me to this point was wrong.

Twisting my hands together, I confessed to a nice woman that I thought I might have generalized anxiety disorder. (I’d looked it up beforehand. It’s important to be prepared!)

She agreed, gently, that I might.

Unlike anyone who’d spent much time around me prior to that point, I was genuinely shocked.

If you have comments, and want to make them over there, that would be great.

If you want to make them here, also fine!