Kathryn Starke ponders whether we create a path for ourselves or if things really happen for a reason.

kathrynstarkeHave you ever played the “what if” game? What if I had said something differently? What if I had gone to that party? What if I had gone to that school? It can be addicting and fun, but it may also be unhealthy if it consumes your life.

I am such a fan of movies like Sliding Doors, The Adjustment Bureau, and Serendipity. The thing about these movies is that you are asking “what if” the whole time while life is happening to you. In these titles, no matter what path the character takes or what she or he decides to do, ultimately the end result is how it should be.

Whatever is supposed to happen to you in life does no matter what. This similar theme exists in each film – we all make life decisions, but “what is meant to be will be.” The viewer gets the opportunity to constantly ask questions, think, and wonder what will happen next.

We get sucked in because we’re taken out of our own reality for at least two hours. We are screaming at the characters telling them what to do and asking why they did that. These are the type of movies that you are still thinking about hours, days, and even weeks after watching, often leading you to ponder your own life. The interesting this is, no one is watching us and we don’t know the ending.

I love a book that can envoke these same emotions. I believe a book that provides the same thought-provoking questions make the biggest impact on the reader. We as readers like to make predictions and connections to any text, especially in fiction. We like to get lost in a book that involves us in a fictitious character’s issues. (It temporarily takes us away from our own situations).

In our own lives, we constantly make little decisions from the route we take to work to the restaurant to meet friends for dinner. We also make major decisions like the school we choose to attend, our career selection, and where we want to live. In life, it’s interesting to wonder if we create a path for ourselves or if things really happen for a reason. As authors, however, we get to establish every movement, thought, decision, cause, effect, and resolution for our characters.

In my debut novel, Because of You, Lilly, a thirty-something bride-to-be plays the “what if” game regarding her relationship status. What if I’m marrying the wrong guy? What if I am settling? What if I miss my singlehood? What if I haven’t met the man I’m supposed to marry yet?

Unfortunately, Lilly does not begin to ask these questions until her own wedding day to doting fiance Patrick. She recalls flashbacks of her courtship to Patrick Wellington and wonders if she is indeed making the right life decision. You will be reading the entire book asking because of who. And while we can’t predict our own future, we can enjoy watching movies and especially reading books that encourage us to imagine “what if”.

becauseofyouLilly never wanted to settle, not in her education, her career, and especially not in her relationships. She observes the countless number of couples in her circle of family and friends, but she has always been unsure if marriage is for her. At thirty-one, she is convinced she has finally found the man of her dreams. But on her actual wedding day, she shares a conversation with a mysterious stranger in a hotel elevator. Suddenly, she begins to question her “happily ever after”. An instant connection with this stranger leads her to doubt what and who she believes in. She recalls flashbacks of her courtship with fiance Patrick and begins to wonder if she is indeed settling for the first time in her life. Lilly struggles internally with her decision and begins questioning her future. Will she marry Patrick or will she ultimately start her search for love all over again?

Kathryn Starke is a literacy specialist, children’s author, and founder of Creative Minds Publications. Because of You is Kathryn’s debut novel, published by Black Rose Writing, on November 14. Learn more about Kathryn at http://www.facebook.com/kathrynstarke.

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