How are you celebrating New Year’s Eve this year? I’ll be sipping champagne, enjoying a roaring fire with friends…and ignoring the loop-the-loops in my stomach. December 31, 2013 is release day for me, which means I get to kiss goodbye to THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR and wave my book baby off into the big wide world of one-star bashings and five-star raves. And, well, I’m having a little separation anxiety.
Maybe I never learned to share in the sandbox, but I want to hold THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR close and say, “Back off, people, this one’s mine.” You see, writing THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR helped me through a difficult moment in my personal life. That moment is long gone, but something about the journey of my quirky, messed-up characters still feels like a locket worn close to my heart.
The inspiration for everything I write comes from being the mother of a brilliant son who has battled obsessive-compulsive disorder for most of his life. OCD frames my world, even though it has never held back my son and has never defined him. (What can I say, the British war mentality flows in his genes.) But while I was working on THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR, he slipped into a dark place, and my mind stuck on the little boy who cried on my lap saying, “Make it stop, Mommy. Make it stop.”
As I watched him claw his way out, my son’s struggles reminded me that even in the darkest moments of anxiety and fear, there’s always hope. THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR is a story of hope.
The setting is my corner of the North Carolina forest. The land surrounding our home speaks to me. It echoes with history, with real-life stories from the past: there’s an old path worn smooth by Native American moccasins, a family burial plot, and a tumbled down homestead that’s surrounded by daffodils every spring. This is a place of memories, of hidden beauty, of deep shade and dancing light.
My favorite time in our forest is that magical hour at the close of day called the gloaming. An in-between time—neither day nor night—this is when the birds call each other home, the shadows grow long, and the sinking sun hits the treetops. For me, that golden light flickering between the leaves epitomizes hope, and it’s a recurring motif in the novel.
THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR is a story of light shining through the trees. My characters come from two broken families each battling unwanted memories and invisible disabilities—severe grief and clinical depression. Yet their coming together brings healing. Their story gives hope for a better tomorrow and isn’t that what we all wish for on New Year’s Eve?
In celebration of THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR’s release, I will be giving away one signed copy (North America residents only). To enter, just leave a comment below.
Happy, happy 2014, everyone!
Barbara Claypole White is the award-winning author of THE UNFINISHED GARDEN, a love story about grief, OCD, and dirt. THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR is her second novel. Visit her at barbaraclaypolewhite.com, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.