Monday, October 02, 2006

BOM: How the Idea Germinated

How did I come up with the idea for THE PROPOSAL?

A little backstory might be in order. You might know that I began in nonfiction. For five years I wrote magazine articles, catalog copy, all kinds of things before I even thought about writing a book--and then I wrote nonfiction books and picture books. So I have always been geared toward factual things, which is probably why my novels have a real basis in fact (and, incidentally, why I don't write fantasy).

So--one year I attended the national convention of Concerned Women for America. My memory's a little foggy, but I think I went at the behest of Tyndale House, who wanted me to nose around and see if I heard about any hot topics that might make an interesting book.

I did attend lots of seminars on everything from sex education to venereal diseases. (Isn't memory strange? I remember the turquoise dress I wore and that I kept the TV on all night for white noise in the hotel room, but I can't remember where the convention was held. But I digress.)

I did hear a lawyer, Scott Summerall, speak on what has come to be known as the "ABC link:" the abortion/breast cancer link. Statistics indicate that women who have abortions before they ever give birth to a child have a greater tendency to develop breast cancer than other women. Why is this so significant? Simple. Doctors will freely tell you about all sorts of things that increase a woman's tendency to develop breast cancer such as never bearing children, having a high fat diet, being overweight, etc., yet NO ONE wants to admit that abortion also increases a woman's chance for breast cancer.

In fact, the topic almost never makes the news unless some new scientific study comes out that disputes this information--but on closer study, most of these new studies aren't truly applicable--they compare apples to oranges, they use control groups that are too young to develop breast cancer, etc.

I came away with that conference with a burdened feeling. The pro-abortion forces are always saying that women have a right to abortion because it's a women's health issue, but the ABC link is also a women's health issue--a BIG one--and no one wanted to talk about it.

So I wondered what would happen if a writer stumbled across this information . . . and certain forces tried to stop her from publishing her book? Of course I needed extremely powerful opposing forces, so instead of merely stopping with NARAL, I created a group that was using tissue from aborted fetuses to treat patients with Parkinsons, etc.

And so the idea was born. THE PROPOSAL would be my first contemporary novel and my first thriller--a genre that posed its own unique challenges, as I'd been writing historicals until this point.

Tomorrow: the research


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