My Journey to this Novel
About 8 years ago (before publishing this novel in December of 2015) I was inspired to write a one page intro to what is now Reclaiming Konia. That, in and of itself, is not so unusual. I have been writing since I was a young girl and I have wanted to write a novel for as long as I can remember. Many times I would write down the intro to a brilliant book idea, but just never found the gumption to finally complete it.
This time something unique was happening. Every writer is inspired by some unknown force. But for me, it seemed as though the force was making itself known. A box of unpacked things I had kept in the closet of my home of 4 years sat waiting to be discovered. Shortly after writing the opening for Reclaiming Konia, I opened up that box to find postcards of Konia (see photos this page) from relics leftover from my Auntie Rose's home. It was erie and exciting. It felt like destiny calling.
I worked on the book diligently, researching and finding stories of the Armenian Genocide through newspapers and other sources. I completed a very rough first draft, which was not at all fit for print. I remember my mom, my best friend, visiting me in New Jersey at the time and reading that draft. She just took a deep breath when I asked her what she thought of that first, awful draft. How kind of her!
For many years I went through challenging times as my budding career took a nose dive around the time of the economic downturn in 2009. I had to learn many lessons, clear many traumas, and shed much emotional baggage and weight. Yet I am grateful for those challenging years.
As I emerged from those challenges, I sought out an expert to help guide me in how to craft a novel that would do justice for my family (and create a book that people would actually want to read!). I found the 90 Day Novel Course with Al Watt, and through his support, I have finally completed Reclaiming Konia! Yay to the manifestation of our dreams! It certainly was a long time coming and a lot of work, but I have never been so proud of anything before in my life.
This is about so much more than my destiny to fulfill my need to become a true writer. My destiny was intertwined with my Great Grandfather, Melkon Jenanyan, as well as many other Armenians - some who survived the Genocide and some who did not. As I began to write this novel (starting over from scratch in the Fall of 2014), I began to feel the presence of Melkon with me as a partner in this journey.
You will have to read the book's ending to understand that the final page are his words and not mine. That is the only way I can explain this incredible partnership with Melkon.
I hope you enjoy his story - it holds many lessons about the motivators behind our life decisions, the challenges of being abused and finding a true source of validation for our life, and the incredible trauma that survivors must overcome when fleeing a country against their will. The survivors too have so much pain, guilt and trauma that they cannot even begin to speak about what they saw.
This book was about Melkon finding the courage to share his story, a story he brushed under the rug while he was alive on this earth.
I hope that Turkey will one day acknowledge the truth and recognize the events in 1915 as Genocide. And I hope that Melkon's story will be one small contribution to the calls for justice, recognition and peace.