Sunday, May 18, 2014 Jason and I were walking around the fence at Jackson Square in New Orleans. He was looking at art. I was tired and hot and grumpy. A little hung over from my birthday celebrations at the RT Booklover’s Convention the night before and a lot sunburned from sightseeing the day before when I saw this. And stopped. Mesmerized. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
Immediately, a line from my novel came to mind. “…if you could get past the razor wire she had strung around her heart.”
My poor little novel, then Man Maid, now Spying on the Boss (Harlequin Superromance, January 2016), was having a hard time that year. No one wanted it. But I loved it. I loved my heroine with all her prickly ways.
The artist, Rick Fox, began telling me about the piece. All materials were items found after the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina. Now repurposed into a thing of beauty.
I was falling in love with this. It was my heroine’s entire story in one work of art.
Jason encouraged me to walk away for a while. To think it through. A good idea but even as we walked away, I turned back to the artist with a wink. “I’ll be back for it,” I mouthed. He smiled and nodded.
As I walked around the French Quarter, my love only grew stronger. Sadie, my heroine, had survived the Katrina of her chaotic childhood spent in foster home after foster home.
She’d salvaged what she could and was rebuilding a family of choice but still she kept her heart locked away.
But I bought this work of art because I knew this story had the potential to touch the hearts of those who read it. I bought this because I believed in Sadie and her razor wire heart. For an entire year, I could see this art from where I wrote.
It had seen me through hope, doubt, despair and finally the joy of acceptance. It represents so much more than Sadie to me now. It represents the strong heart it takes to keep trying. To keep reaching for your dreams.