Inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places. Elicia Hyder explains how joining a local roller derby helped her to heal and grow after the loss of her husband and how the relationships she formed helped to inpire her latest romance, Lights Out Lucy:
In 2008, my first husband was killed in a texting-and-driving incident. We had two kids at the time. Our daughter, Canaan, was four. Her brother, Will, was two. To say the ensuing months were tumultuous would be an understatement. For the next year and a half, I dated awful men. Partied too much. And aside from some blogging, I stopped writing completely.
One night, my friend Chuck invited me to go watch the Nashville Rollergirls play. It was amazing! Afterward, we went out for drinks and decided I should be a roller girl for Halloween. Chuck asked his friend (and Nashville Rollergirl) if I could borrow her jersey for my costume. That player, Lady Fury, asked him, “What? Is she too big of a %$$# to play the sport herself?”
That week, I found out The Nashville Rollergirls were actively recruiting “Fresh Meat.” I hadn’t been on roller skates in years, but I decided to try out for the team. I was terrible! But the coaches and team members were amazingly supportive and patient. After three months of grueling practices, I made the team.
While the sport conditioned my body, it also gave me an outlet for some pent-up hurts and frustrations. However, it was the relationships that really helped piece my broken life back together. Years later, those girls are all still my friends.
Despite all this, the idea for the novel, Lights Out Lucy, was actually sparked by my own cancer diagnosis in 2015.
Canaan was 12 at the time and counting the days until she could play junior roller derby. Suddenly she 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.
A few days after the bad news, I was lying in the bathtub planning my funeral—because that’s what all cancer patients do at some point—and I heard Canaan roller skating on our driveway. I wondered if she, too, would find her healing on a pair of quad skates once I was gone.
And thus, the idea for Lights Out Lucy was born. While it does have a juicy romance, at its heart it’s the story of a young woman finding herself again after losing her mom.
Fast forward three years, and Lights Out Lucy: Roller Derby 101 is my ninth published novel. I’m cancer free, and I’m officially a roller derby mom! Canaan now plays for our local junior roller derby team. Her derby name is “Frostfire”—a shout out to her second favorite author, Amanda Hocking.
And as for Lady Fury, the roller derby legend whose taunt pushed me to join … she works for me now. Together we are coordinating reader parties at roller derby bouts all over the world.
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