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Once upon a time, I threw my children out the car window.
Not because I didn’t love them or anything. Just because I’m a writer, and my mind is an ever-whirling hamster wheel of WHAT IF. And my what if was about would it be possible to get your children from the back seat and to freedom in the event of a car jacking. How would it happen? How could a mother in the front seat safely and swiftly get her children, strapped in to car seats in the back seat, out of the car?
This is sort of like the drills we have in our house about what to do if a zombie breaks in while we’re upstairs. (That one’s much easier -- you run down to the room at the end of the hall, push the dresser in front of the door and use the fire ladder to escape.)
So, under controlled circumstances and timing it to see if it were realistic, we all acted out an escape from the car. It is possible, by the way, in just a few seconds, to twist your body across the center console of a Chevy Suburban, unhook your kids from their seatbelts, and pull them back with you to toss out the driver’s side window. It’s helpful if their dad’s there to catch them, of course, and if they think it’s a game. But I bet if it were a matter of getting them out of danger it would be possible too.
I don’t always research my books as thoroughly as I did for Precious and Fragile Things. Sometimes I just read stuff in books, or interview people, or search on the internet. Most times I just make stuff up, because that’s what I like best about writing.
Precious and Fragile Things is the story of Gilly Soloman, a woman pushed to the edge by the constant demands of mothering young children. So much that when the guy jumps in her car and tells her to drive, her first thought is getting her kids to safety...but her second is “yes, please. Take me away.”
And he does.
Todd Blauch didn’t know there were kids in the car. He thinks Gilly will get out when she’s given the chance. The fact she doesn’t throws them both for a loop so hard it ends with them stranded in a snow-bound cabin with no way to get out until the snow melts.
Three months can be a very long time when you’re faced with all your mistakes and no way to fix them. Gilly learns that. Todd’s known it for his whole life. Together, Gilly and Todd have to form some sort of relationship in order to survive, and as the time passes, both of them learn more about each other than they’d ever have thought possible. And about themselves.
Precious and Fragile Things is about what happens when you think you can’t take any more, and what you’ll do when you’re given the chance to give everything up.
As a writer, there’s not much that happens in my life that somehow doesn’t get gleaned for use in my fiction. Most of the time it’s extrapolated or at least edited to keep the interesting bits while getting rid of the stuff nobody’d want to read about. Precious and Fragile Things came from a combination of research and what if’s, and also quite a lot from my own frustrations as a mother of young children. No, it’s not cool to admit there might be days you hope someone kidnaps you so you have an excuse to sleep in...but for many parents, it’s the truth.
Frankly though, I’d rather have to run from a zombie.
- Megan Hart
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