Enough to Go Around has been a process of discovery and a labor of love for most of my life. As a child I would go to my paternal grandparents’ home for various holidays, and while sitting around the dining room table eating traditional Slovakian food I would listen to many stories my grandparents told about their growing up years in Czechoslovakia and their immigration experiences. I was intrigued and often entertained by these stories, and when I was assigned a genealogy project in seventh grade, I brought a tape recorder and a notebook to their house and listened intently while they retold their stories. It was then that the idea of writing a book about them came into being.
Years passed – worked my way through college, became a single parent – and the story began to take shape although there wasn’t much writing time. Characters evolved, a video was given to me of a trip my dad took with his sister to Slovakia, and I borrowed books from my dad to use for research. My initial idea was to create a fictional account of my grandparents’ experiences (because there were a lot of facts and details I didn’t have), but I also wanted to weave the stories of the past with a present-day extended family and everyone’s lives. I spent years jotting down extensive notes and writing at least a dozen different outlines.
In 2007 I was blessed to take a trip with my father and my sister to Slovakia to do research and meet relatives. It was an amazing and emotional time. We saw the villages where both of my grandparents grew up, visited the graves of my great-grandparents, and met relatives we didn’t know we had.
My life with my two sons, one of whom has autism, influenced me to write Slip, my first novel. I set Enough to Go Around aside for a while (which at the time had a different title, one of five over the years). My life was deeply entrenched in the world of special needs and that was where my mind was for several years, so I focused on that subject matter.
But a few years ago I was very happy to get back to the story of my family heritage. I wrote the first full draft during NANOWRIMO in 2008. Since then it continued to evolve into its present state. I am privileged – and thrilled – to be able to share it.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT YOUR READERS TO KNOW:
Enough to Go Around focuses on the theme of family life – its complexity, troubles, and rewards. I wanted to share my family’s heritage, of course, but also other elements of life, such as mistakes, regret, love, loss, and forgiveness. I wanted to foster awareness about bipolar disorder, which one of the main characters has, and how it can affect family life. For this I draw on my personal experience of bipolar, as well as the pain of losing a close family member to cancer, another element of the book. (Sadly, my father died of colon cancer in 2011 and did not see this book come to fruition.) Life is messy, families are fragile, and there are no easy fixes. But sometimes you can sit around the dining room table at Easter and tell jokes and stories and laugh and look around the table and realize that your life may be far from great, it may be really hard at times, but you have these moments to hold onto, these – and other – moments of grace that are just as much a part of that life, and perhaps even more important.