Sometimes it starts with a bang, sometimes with a whisper. In my case it started with my sister. She asked me to write a story with her, and we would each write a chapter from two different points of view. I have always been a writer and a storyteller so of course I agreed and thought this would be a fun project for us to work on together. Turns out, it was not so fun and as often happens with family, other things began to get in the way. I was traveling, my sister lost interest, we had completely different ideas, and after only a couple of pages the idea began to fizzle out. I was somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat when she emailed me to say that she wanted to take her character, write her own story, and go our separate book-writing ways. I agreed and bid farewell to her few pages, but since I was bored and stuck on a 55 foot catamaran in the middle of the ocean with not much else to do, I continued to develop my character and the plotline that had been forming in my head around her. Orabelle. She was special to me. Sure, I had written stories before and they were fun little ways to pass the time when I was bored, but this was different. She was different. To me she felt alive, like there was a story in her that needed to be told. So I kept writing. A few pages turned into a few chapters. Meanwhile, on the boat, we were sailing right into a hurricane class storm. I had been in foul weather before, but never like this. Waves thirty-five feet high lifted us up and dropped us relentlessly. There were stress cracks forming in the gally and the stanchions and lifelines bent and snapped under the weight of the waves. Water poured over the sides as I tried to steer, saltwater stinging and blinding me as the wind flung it in my face at gusts of almost 70 miles per hour. It was first time being sea sick and the first time that I had ever had to prepare myself for the possibility that the boat I was on might sink. We lost a prop, the nav station was a wreck, the generator went out, there was a leak in the hull, everything that wasn’t tied down was thrown about, and it was a complete shit show. I remember when my watch ended and I untied myself from the jackline I had rigged to the galley door and went inside, I could not feel my hands. I was drenched and cold and miserable. Then as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. The sun was shining, we were alive, the boat was miraculously still afloat. We had made it. We limped into the harbor in Bermuda and I called home, getting yelled at by my very furious mother and listening to the others as they laughed or cried to their families while recounting our harrowing tale. I knew then, sitting there with the warm sun on my face, feeling more alive than I ever had before, that I needed to create. I wanted to leave something behind to show that I had lived, and I promised myself I would finish my book, even if no one ever read it.