The Inspiration for Nora’s Wish
John Mc Caffrey
How does a horror writer ever wind up writing a geriatric romance? I’ve been asked that question more than a few times since the release of Nora’s Wish. I think the short answer is that the story wrote itself. The long answer is a bit more complicated.
There wasn’t a time in my life that I didn’t want to be a writer. I could write about anything, although I found that my writing habits usually reflected my reading choices and those were primarily in the genre of horror. I didn’t however, limit myself to only horror. My taste in books varied, and the more I read, the more I wanted to actually write myself. It wasn’t until I got older that I began to seriously think about actually pursuing writing as anything more than the hobby it had always been. Up until penning Nora’s Wish, I had written short stories, not wanting to take on anything as ambitious as a novel just yet, until a series of events changed all that.
It was from my late father that I drew the inspiration for Nora’s Wish. He was a widower for two decades, and although he had his grown children around him in his final years, I was aware that not everyone had that. There are many elderly people who are forgotten in their old age, surrounded by nothing but solitude and regrets. I wanted to take that, and show that with just a little bit of hope, the golden years could be filled with more than sorrow and loneliness.
I visited my dad a couple times a week, and began to notice a trend in his conversation. He seemed to contemplate on past decisions; how he wished he’d made other choices than the ones he had. Although his regrets were little more than not buying a larger house or investing in a new central air conditioner, it made me think about reflecting on a life wasted from the perspective of an elderly person. How difficult it must be to be faced with the thought of missed opportunities during our twilight years.
My father was fortunate to have been surrounded by family and friends, but what about the people who didn’t have that? What about the unloved and forgotten? It was with these thoughts that the character of Ben Jameson took shape within me, and I began writing Nora’s Wish.
In many ways, once I began writing, it was Ben telling me of his life as I typed. I began with an outline, but key elements seemed to come to me as if it was Ben sharing his memories, and I was doing little more than diligently recording them. His failed marriage, his indifferent children, his withdrawal from humanity while in contrast to my own father, were still drawn from the hole I often felt existed in my dad’s life.
There is little doubt that if any of us were able to, we would change certain things in our lives. I explore this sentiment in Nora’s Wish as Ben and Nora discover not only each other, but that magic exists in the world. Real magic based as much in hope and love as it is in a supposedly mystical force imbued in a small pendant, and that not everything is always as it seems.
Here’s a little information about Nora’s Wish…
Ben Jameson is a bitter retiree residing at Willow Manor, a home for the aged or those in need of care, and has nothing more to do than await the inevitable conclusion of a life wasted. Forgotten by his family, his days are marked by the solitary existence of books, loneliness, and regret.
A chance meeting with a terminally ill resident named Nora, and her unshakeable optimism in the face of her eventual demise, rekindles emotions he was certain were gone forever. Nora reawakens his ability to love, and with her compassion and her companionship, he comes to realize that even a life as wasted as his own can be salvaged and, given the right incentive, is still worth living.
As Nora’s health declines, they both dare to hope that the magic of a strange pendant Ben purchased from an antique shop as a gift for Nora will overcome the odds, offering them more time with one another.
Nora’s Wish is available on:
Barnes & Noble (Print & eBook)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR — John Mc Caffrey writes tales of horror, the supernatural, science fiction, and fantasy. He was born in Illinois and grew up on the south side of Chicago. While still in grade school, he developed a passion for reading through the works of Tolkien, Poe, and Lovecraft as well as being addicted to watching Hammer Film’s at the local Saturday matinee. Today he lives in Northern Indiana with his wife where he writes in his spare time.