In 2010, my dad, Alfred David Williams, was diagnosed with cancer. To say the least, the news devastated my family. My dad had always aspired to be an author and have his name published in a novel one day; however, he was never able to fulfill his lifelong dream. After being diagnosed with cancer, the chemo, radiation treatments, and medications affected his cognitive thinking, so he had to make peace with the fact he would never write his book.
In 2010, one of my dearest friends Crystal Reed and I decided we wanted to receive unique gifts from each other for Christmas. She’d always aspired to learn to play the piano, so I told her I wanted her to learn to play Bella’s Lullaby as my gift. She knew of my father’s cancer and of his lost dream of becoming a published author, so she challenged me to write one single chapter of a story as my gift to her, and I accepted the challenge.
After Crystal read the first chapter of my book, The Knowing, she encouraged me to keep going, because she thought I was on to something special. I was hesitant because with the exception of writing occasional poems, songs, and humanitarian pieces, I had absolutely no writing experience. However, I decided to roll my sleeves up and dive in. Before I knew it, I had written four chapters.
When I completed four chapters, I decided to share them with my dad. His opinion meant everything to me because he was always brutally honest. Before he read my completed chapters, he sat me down and explained that if I was serious about writing, I needed to go to writing school to become a legit writer. He explained that he should have done the same, and because he didn’t, his dream slipped away from him. I remember feeling discouraged during our conversation, but I respected his honesty and left him the chapters to read anyway.
I will never forget the call I received immediately upon arriving home forty-five minutes after leaving my dad that day. It was my dad. He said “Renae, I was wrong, darlin’. I don’t know how in the hell you wrote this, but you’ve got something really special here. It’s good, little girl, and I mean really damn good.” Needless to say, I was boasting with joy, because my dad didn’t say anything he didn’t mean. His words ignited a fire within me, which inspired me to keep going.
Because my dad was sick, he rarely left home, so my mom and dad decided to use the chapters of my book for their date nights. My dad would read each chapter to my mom out loud, and then they would call me to tell me what they thought, which was not only precious, but priceless. Writing The Knowing became more than just me writing a book. It was something that connected my dad and me in a way that is still hard for me to put into words to this day.
On February 10, 2012, my dad lost his battle with cancer. I was without question, crushed. However, I vowed to keep writing The Knowing until it was finished so that my dad’s name could be published in a worthy novel. When I wasn’t working twelve to fourteen hours a day as a Regional Marketing Manager, I was writing. The story came to me as though I was meant to write it. Life was beautiful, and nothing could or was going to stop me from finishing my book, so I thought.
And then in March of 2013, with literally only three and a half chapters left to finish, I was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia — the most painful disorder known to mankind. My beautiful world completely fell apart. I lost my successful career in marketing, my income was gone, and I needed brain surgery. Needless to say, the completion of my book came to an abrupt halt.
Like my dad, the two anti-seizure medications I take to control the quantity of TN attacks I have daily slowed my cognitive thinking down. I could no longer write, and when I tried, everything was jumbled due to the side effects of my medications. Suffering from daily pain, stress, and being in constant fear, I fell into a deep depression for nearly a year.
Three and a half years ago, I came across my unfinished book as I was cleaning files out of my computer. My heart drowned in sadness as I read the beautiful words I’d written pre-TN. There were chapters filled with stories of strength, perseverance, love, and having the will to find beauty in all things, both good and bad. I felt like a hypocrite for giving up, and when I acknowledged that I had, the same fire my dad had originally instilled in me re-ignited.
It took me every bit of three and a half years to write the last three chapters of The Knowing. However, I refused to rush the ending just for the sake of finishing it. It had to be every bit as good as the rest of the book, so I took my time to ensure it was. When I would have a bad attack day or felt like giving up, I would close my eyes and picture my dad reading those first chapters to my mom on their date nights to keep myself moving forward.
I am absolutely ecstatic to announce that my novel is finished, published and was released to the world Saturday, May 5th, 2018. I wrote a novel, and a damn good one. However, while my novel is a love story, murder mystery and supernatural thriller, my sincere hope is that the subliminal messages I sprinkled throughout my book will inspire someone to keep fiercely running towards their dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem to achieve, because they are.