The Awakening required research in a couple of new areas: first, New York City. Fortunately, I’d been there recently. Second, I had to research agoraphobia, which is usually defined as “fear of open spaces.” But a person truly suffering from agoraphobia can experience panic in any unfamiliar place, and over time, his or her world grows smaller and smaller. I read books on the disorder, but it wasn’t until I talked to Patsy Clairmont, who used to suffer from agoraphobia, that I got a real handle on the personality traits Aurora would need. I got more useable information in a ten-minute talk with Patsy than I did through reading a couple of books.

I also had a character who was an economist, so I had to do a bit of research on that. Fortunately, a New York Times article on the guy who originated “freakonomics” fit that bill and gave me just what I needed.
I had to research New York apartments. I found a lovely book with original floor plans from New York apartment buildings, and placed Aurora and friends in the exact plans of an old Manhattan building. That was fun.
I also had to think about the Christian content. Even though I intended The Awakening to be a parable–an earthly story with a heavenly meaning–I knew some readers would do well to get through the story, let alone dig for the deeper meaning. (Parables are like onions–and some folks only want to pull off the peel.) So I made one character, the next door neighbor, a Christian. It’s a little overt Christian content, but not too much. The real spiritual meaning lies beneath the surface . . . by design.
Tomorrow: the writing


  1. Anonymous

    There’s a typo in this post I thought you may want to correct (since you’re a writer and all). In the paragraph about the economist just before “freakonomics” it says: originalted instead of originated.

    You can delete me now. 🙂

    I hope you don’t mind this kind of comment. I guess I think of it like I’m eating lunch with a friend and she has food in her teeth…do I tell her or not? If I’m her friend, I tell her! 🙂

    God bless!

  2. Angela

    Thank you for telling me I had a typo in my teeth. 🙂 I feel better now.


  3. Accidental Poet

    heheheh “there’s a typo in my teeth” …

    have I mentionned how much I love The Awakening yet?

  4. Kristy Dykes

    Love reading these segments of How A Novel Was Birthed. Thanks.

  5. Cindy

    Angela, this is interesting for me because “The Awakening” is one of my favorite books you’ve written. I really loved it.

  6. Susanne

    Just found you a couple weeks ago. I love your books and can hardly wait to read the Awakening! This site is so interesting to me, reading how your novel came together. Just thought I’d let you know.


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