Catherine Ryan Hyde Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 25 published and forthcoming books, including the bestselling When I found You, Pay It Forward, Don't Let Me Go, and Take Me With You.

           

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Have You Ever Had a When You Were Older Moment?

Catherine Ryan Hyde

My mind is on my new release When You Were Older today, and I've been thinking about the way I use "crucial moments" in some of my novels. In Electric God, a life was lost over a crucial moment. A moment when the main character, Hayden, could have done something, but didn't. Of course, he had no way of knowing it was a crucial moment. We almost never do. That's what I find so fascinating about them. Looking back, you realize the gigantic nature of a moment, the way life turned on it. In fact, in Electric God I referred to it as a "fulcrum moment." But at the time you have no way of knowing you just passed an important crossroad.

In my newest, When You Were Older, Russell is late for work when the phone rings. And he almost doesn't get it. Because he's late. Thing is, he's late to work at the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001. If he had kept going and ignored the phone, he would have been at work when the first plane hit. If the call had been of no importance, he might still have made it in time to be killed. But it was far from unimportant. It was a neighbor in his home town of Kansas, telling him that his mother has died suddenly, and he has to come home and look after care for his brain-damaged older brother, Ben. So he doesn't rush out the door. And he survives.

The closest moment I can think of in my own life was when I was laid off from a job in January of 1991. I was working as a baker and pastry chef in a small restaurant here in town. Which closed its doors in January. Leaving me out of work. And this is a tourist town. There's no work in January. There's work in June. So while I was waiting, I wrote a novel. I loved that job and would have done anything to hold onto it. I thought losing it was the worst thing that could happen. Of course, it wasn't. It was the best.

Not as dramatic as my fictional moments, but you get the idea.

So...in honor of the release of the new novel, will you tell me about a moment when your life turned? You can leave it as a comment, or email it to me to post on this blog. I'd really like to do some guest posts on the subject, but I'll base that on the response.

And, by the way, the Kindle ebook of novel is marked down to only $1.99 in honor of book-loving holiday shoppers. That price will hold through the 23rd of December.

Hope to hear from you, and feature your moments!