- Deah, Indie Author
Behind Sadie's Life-Altering Secret
HOW THIS BOOK CAME INTO BEING
After writing the prequel to this book, Echoes, Lies, and Enduring Mysteries which chronicles the search for my biological parents, I began to accumulate additional pieces of information about the year Sadie found herself pregnant. Through searching public records, talking with a half sister I didn't know I had until after Sadie died, and a couple of conversations with her life long friend Fran, I had enough additional information to piece together a new memoir.
Many of the documents used as foundation for this book I found through Ancestry.com. Marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, defense department records, social security and census records all provided verification for crucial details. I even found Sadie's high school yearbook photos that mentioned her activity with choir and another social group I played up in the book, and a couple newspaper articles in which she was mentioned as a member of the Air Force Officers Wives Club. I also had a 10 page letter from the adoption agency she worked with and a conversation with the social worker who prepared it to fill in some of the details on some of her family history and the time she spent living in their unwed mothers home.
In addition, I got to talk with Sadie twice by phone. We exchanged letters once. I also talked with one of her four granddaughters, and with a second half sister. These minimalistic communications gave me a fairly clear picture of Sadie's personality, attitudes, and approach to her life. I drew on these conversations a lot in writing the dialogue and scenes of her youth.
But this is a hybrid memoir -- that is, based on documented facts, but some gaps in the story have had to be imagined (i.e., fictionalized) where it was impossible to know the facts. And unlike the prequel that is written in first person, this story is rendered in the third person, and I'm told it reads like a novel.
Members of a writer's group I'm attending have heard me read short excerpts from this book, and gave lovely feedback. If you read and like it, I'd be forever grateful for a review on Amazon or Smashwords.
WHY I WROTE IT UNDER A PEN NAME
I use pen names for several reasons. One is for genre branding. Raziel Bearn is the name I publish under for writing about family and some other highly personal stories.
Another reason is that this allows me a freedom to explore topics, issues, and report on happenings with a deeper honesty than I might otherwise risk if I needed to be overly conscious of others' emotional sensitivities.
And in writing about my bio-family especially, it helps shield me from legal liabilities. The family I know about from research doesn't know me, some may not have even heard about me. They may not know some of the information about Sadie that I've uncovered, and there is no way to predict how they would receive the more unflattering bits of the facts. I've only had contact with three of the 25 or so people I know about. Some of these had passed on before I discovered our connection.
I've not written with malice, and yet some of Sadie's choices were undoubtedly difficult for her. Some of those are detailed in this book. In hindsight, she could be judged rather harshly, although I've written her with a degree of understanding from my admittedly psychological perspective.
WHAT MOVED ME ABOUT SADIE'S DETERMINATION
Because of her choices, I've had a pretty easy life, comparatively speaking. Yet, as a psychotherapist during one of the longer stretches of my career life, I have walked alongside those who have had impossible situations in their lives and witnessed the trauma, shame, and fear their challenges and choices created. In imagining this difficult year for Sadie, I could easily empathize with how it impacted her emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Ultimately, I'm convinced that Sadie made the best choices she could with the opportunities open to her. At various points in her story I imagined what I might have done in her situation, and I could see how she must have felt so determined to make a good life for herself and for me.