This story is included at the front of every copy of Lights Out Lucy, but it’s too special to risk you not seeing it.
On this launch day, I share with you the most personal story I’ve ever told. The story behind the story of Lights Out Lucy: Roller Derby 101.
In 2008, my first husband was one of the first recorded deaths resulting from texting and driving in the state of Tennessee. He was 25 years old. At the time we had two children. Canaan was four. Will was two.
In the aftermath of that awful year, my good friend, Chuck, introduced me to the wild and wonderful sport of women’s flat track roller derby. On a dare, I joined Fresh Meat (Roller Derby 101) with the Nashville Rollergirls, and “eL’s Bells” (my derby name) was born.
Truth be told: I SUCKED AT ROLLER DERBY. I hung up my skates after my 2nd serious knee injury before I ever even skated in my first official bout…BUT new lifelong friendships were forged, my body became a formidable machine, and through the bruises, torn ligaments, and pulled muscles—my heart finally healed.
Fast forward to 2015 when I was diagnosed with cancer. My daughter—who was counting the days until she could play junior roller derby—was faced with the possibility of losing another parent. Unlike her brother, who only remembered their dad in pictures, Canaan knew the pain that seemed to lurk in our future.
As I planned my funeral (yes, that’s dramatic, but I think every cancer patient considers it), I wondered if Canaan, too, would find her healing on a pair of quad skates.
And thus, the idea for this novel, Lights Out Lucy, was sparked.
I published my first book with chemotherapy burning through my veins. And while the doctors and nurses (hi, Rena) saved my life, I can honestly say that writing saved my sanity.
Three years later, I’m cancer free and Lights Out Lucy is my 9th published novel. It’s also my favorite. In these pages, I hope you’ll experience the power of friendship and determination. I hope you’ll laugh, fall in love, and see the very best in yourself through our unwitting heroine.
As for Canaan? She finally got her own skates. That’s her front and center in the photo below. #ProudDerbyMom
There are thousands of roller derby teams worldwide. Just go to your favorite search engine and type: *roller derby insert your city here* to find a team near you. A lot of them are non-profits that support local charities, so bring the whole family to a bout and have fun for a good cause!
And if you ever toy with the idea of joining Fresh Meat to FIND OUT WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF…
I dare you.