The Golden Crumb


This morning while I drank my morning coffee, I listened to a radio interview of Hank Phillippi Ryan, author of The Other Woman. Ryan describes the moment she finds that golden crumb, the one that gives her the book.

“You can choose your sin, but you can not choose your consequences…”

Oddly, I found another article where she gives another version of her crumb’s origin, but that is neither her not there. What grabbed me, is that precious moment in time when an author finds their golden crumb. You might be looking for motivation, a direction or a that sparks for a new plot.

In Ryan’s words:It began in the dentist’s office. (How about that?) Yup. I went in for a root canal, and read in a waiting room magazine about the governor of South Carolina who’d told his wife and staff he was hiking the Appalachian trail–when he was really off with his Argentinean mistress. Why would someone choose to be the other woman, I wondered? It’s such a terrible idea on every level. And then I thought: ‘maybe there’s a twist, maybe there’s a secret, maybe there’s a big juicy story behind it’. Maybe it’s a story I could tell! At the end of the article, the governor’s wife was quoted. She said: “You can choose your sin, but you cannot choose your consequences.”

What was your golden crumb? One of mine was an urban legend told by my father and another told by my grandfather of two women in NH who self-immolated themselves, one in the sixties and another two decades earlier. I have been obsessed with these stories my whole life, what would it take to take your own life in such a primal, horrifying way? When I moved to Mayberry NC, I wondered how this community that banks so heavily on a 1950s TV show would respond to two of their own killing themselves this way? Sadly, I killed the puppy while editing, but after the progress I made last year with The Last Daughter, I am ready to take the book out of ICU this year.

Do you have a golden crumb to share?

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