A Painful Post Mortem is a novel (my first writing as Mel Menzies) and, in a way, the title says a lot about why I write. Inspired by the loss of my daughter who was a heroin addict for years, the story begins with a death.
The death is that of a young woman, Katya. The Pathology Report suggests that her demise is self-inflicted. Aware of changes in Katya's lifestyle, her mother, Claire, is determined to prove otherwise; especially when the police arrest two people whom they suspect of being implicated.
Claire is a woman with a past: a broken marriage. She is, also, a woman of faith. People prayed for Katya throughout the years of her drug-addiction: is Claire now to believe that the promises offered as a result of those prayers are broken? Has she failed, not only in her marriage, but also in parenting her daughter? 'Where did I go wrong?' she asks herself.
Prayers, and questions like that, are seen as a sign of weakness by Katya's father, Mark, who prefers to drown such thoughts in an alcoholic haze. Nevertheless, he is drawn into the quest to clear Katya's name. And so begins the solving of a mystery.
In raking through the painful post mortem of their marriage, Claire and Mark discover certain truths: that love never dies; that forgiveness - of yourself and others - is the redeeming factor; and that from pain and suffering comes the offer of grace which, if accepted, brings peace, renewal and restoration.
There's a reason why A Painful Post Mortem attempts to air social issues via the media of fiction. Bedtime reading, when I was a child, was from my father's leather-bound Great Short Stories of the World. I adored him, and I loved the discussions that followed those bedtime rituals, about the themes that underlay Wilde's The Selfish Giant; Chekhov's The Bet; Maupassant's The Necklace. Those stories taught me more than anything about good and evil, morality and integrity: which says a lot about why Jesus used parables as life lessons.
I was not sufficiently academic to please my father, however, nor sporty enough to satisfy my mother. It was clear that I was a disappointment to both. Which is why I escaped into my own world and began to write: plays which, like the children in Ian McEwan's novel, Atonement, my cousins and I acted for our parents; and finally, my first submission, a short story, and my first rejection slip at the age of fourteen.
Eventually, I began to write in earnest, to be published, to be commissioned. And as 'fan mail' to my early memoirs showed, the 'painful post mortem' of my own life produced truths that resonated with my readers.
My goal was, and is always, to: comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.' 2 Cor 1:4. Paraphrased for my website as An Author's Look at Life: Resources to Inform, Inspire, Encourage, it is intended to reach out to unbelievers. To this day it remains the engine that drives my writing forward; the rudder that keeps me on track; and the anchor that binds me to God's truths. It is, in fact, the basis on which my writing is founded.
Mel Menzies (one of the pen names of Merrilyn Williams) is a multi-published author with a Sunday Times No. 4 bestseller, and keynote speaker. Her first job, as PA to American author, Paul Gallico (Snow Goose, Thomasina, The Poseidon Adventure) helped to shape her interest in story-telling. Since then she has written memoir, biographies, how-to-books, magazine articles on relationships, and short stories for radio. She has run workshops on Creative Writing and Publishing and blogs, regularly, on this and a variety of topics. She has recently been elected national Chairman of the Association of Christian Writers and looks forward to informing, inspiring and encouraging excellence among Christian writers across all media.
Download A Painful Post Mortem for Kindle here: ALL PROCEEDS ARE FOR CHARITY: Tearfund (child victims of HIV/AIDS); Care for the Family (educating children against drugs).
Posted by Donna Fletcher Crow whose newest release is A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, The Monastery Murders 2 http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/