In August of 2013, I went on a trip to Walt Disney World with my family, my parents, and my brother, Michael, and my sister-in-law, Nan. At this point, it had been years since I had done any serious writing (you can find out why, here).
Even so, I had lots of ideas bouncing around in my head, and one of those ideas was the premise for ANOM: Awakening. Of course at this time, it was nowhere close to being a "story" at all. In fact, it was barely an idea.
It was more like the start of a story -- a single thread that you could pull and follow and, if you really wanted to, you might find a story at the end. The problem was I had no motivation to follow any of these threads. My writing career, as far as I was concerned, was dead in the water.
I remember flying home from Florida, sitting on the plane next to my brother. I don't know how it came up, but I remember talking to him about this idea for a story . . . and he was excited about it. His reaction to my idea was genuine and sincere. He wanted to know more. We talked through an opening set-piece together, and by the time the plane landed in Philly, I was excited about the story too. I got home and started my novel the next day.
Standing on the precipice of any achievement, it's impossible not to look back and acknowledge all those who have contributed to your success. There are countless people I need to thank for supporting me in my writing, but no one is more responsible for ANOM: Awakening than my brother. It was his encouragement on that plane ride home that got me writing again.
There are so many people in life who, for whatever reason, take great joy in discouraging others. I am thankful for the people in my life, especially my brother, who choose to offer encouragement instead. It may not seem like much at the time, but in the end, it makes all the difference.