I’m a wife, a mother, and a young adult writer with type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed in 2001. My first novel was published in 2015, and my second novel, Bewitching Hannah, is about to be released. I’m gearing up for a busy fall season full of author events that will challenge me to get out there and do my writer thing while keeping my blood sugar levels balanced and staying healthy.
On a daily basis, I’m home writing, which sounds easy, right? The challenge is that I get sucked into the writing zone and lose track of not only time, but also my type 1 routine. Fortunately, I have a dog that lets me know when she needs a walk, which is often—thank goodness! I also use a Medtronic insulin pump and a Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor). The insulin pump has been a godsend, especially when I have to travel to faraway places for book events, and although I’m fairly new to the Dexcom CGM, it has already had a fabulous impact on my life and my blood sugar.
The bigger challenge as a writer with type 1 is when I attend these amazing book fairs or author events where I’m gleefully busy for hours at a time. I have to remind myself to check in on how I’m feeling, which is difficult when you’re gushing with fans over your favorite authors and books, right?! At events like this, if I start to feel low or my CGM alerts me, I’ll take a break for a few minutes to take care of myself. I usually bring bottled fruit juice with me just in case.
Often, I am asked about giving advice to teens with type 1 who are interested in becoming writers. Here it is–most importantly, take care of yourself because a healthy writer’s mind requires a healthy body. Exercise in between writing sessions, make healthy food choices (as much as you can!), count carbs, and utilize technology to stay fit. The world needs all types of authors, especially you! Dream big and start writing about what you love. Take classes to hone your writing. There are lots of free writing tutorials online that you can take advantage of if you can’t afford a writing class. And finally, join a community of teen writers. Local libraries are a great source for this or join/create a teen book club. Then you can read a book by an author with type 1 and invite them to Skype into your book club! By the way, reading is just as important to your writing as writing is.
The next big thing I have planned is completing my third young adult novel, and since I’ve only had the Dexcom CGM for a short time, I can’t wait to get my next A1C results! I also want to challenge myself to increase my level of exercise and continue to spend time volunteering with the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) chapter near me.
To learn more about me and my writing adventures, click here. For a peek into my new book, read on!
Bewitching Hannah by Leigh Goff
Bewitching Hannah, which releases September 17th, is a story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Hannah Fitzgerald who discovers an ancient prophecy that reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another. She soon realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that surrounds her in the historic town of Annapolis.
If you’re interested in ordering a copy of Bewitching Hannah, here’s the link.
Enjoy the exclusive excerpt…
A breeze swept through her cracked window, tousling runaway strands of chestnut brown hair across her prominent cheekbones.
“Yes, everything will be wonderful,” she said with certainty in her voice, but I wasn’t so absa-freaking-lutely sure.
Lightning flashed, followed by a rumble of thunder, jolting me alert. A tempest churned over the Chesapeake Bay and was rolling toward town. I stared at the clouds, ready to calculate how much time we had before the rain hit. Another bright flash of white-hot lightning forked across the purplish-black sky. One, two…twenty.
The storm was at least four miles away. I pressed a hand over my chest feeling the thumping slow.
I glanced at Aunt J, who was no longer bopping her head to the bad music. Instead, she blinked over and over, and rubbed her eyes with one hand.
“If you’re tired, I can drive.” Who needed a license when I’d already mastered a moped along with the Green Briar golf carts?
Her slender fingers searched for me as if I were a ghost she could only hear. She grasped my arm tightly.
“Hannah?” Panic drenched her voice.
My eyes widened. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t see. I mean, I see something, but it’s not the road. What’s wrong with me?”
I peered out the windshield. A distant telephone pole grew bigger as her foot stuck to the accelerator.
A frightening swell of adrenaline flooded my veins, sending my heart into a frenzy. “Stop!” I yelled, but she was frozen with fright. I grabbed the steering wheel and threw my leg over to jam on the brake pedal.
It was too late. Absolute silence fell over us in the grim second before we plowed into the pole. My lower body slammed into the dashboard while the seatbelt squeezed hard against my ribs. Metal groaned. White bubbles deployed. Glass shattered with a scream. Or maybe the scream was mine. The car groaned to a halt with a hiss and clank.
Stillness settled over us. My head was reeling as I checked myself for injuries. Bursts of pain sparked from my chest and leg.
“Hannah?” Aunt J’s quivering voice reached out.
I pried my eyes open. She had escaped her seatbelt. Her lips and hands were trembling, but I saw no blood or broken skin. Inwardly, I sighed with relief.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
I sucked in a shallow breath. “Me? Fine,” I managed, not wanting to stress her out, but I struggled to breathe and my left leg was wedged under the intruding dashboard.
She reached over, wiping her hands across my cheeks and forehead, dusting away crumbs of glass. She touched her trembling fingers to the seatbelt release and pressed on it, over and over. “Come on, dammit. Let go.”
I pushed her hand away, restraining a whimper. “It’s okay. Go get help.”
She nodded and with a hard push, shoved her door open. “I’ll be right back.”
A heavy silence fell over the car’s interior until a hiss sounded from the engine. Within seconds, the smell of burning oil seeped in through the vents.
One toxic breath went deeper than I meant it to. “Ow!” I coughed and writhed beneath the unyielding seatbelt like a five-year-old having a tantrum. Panic swept over me as I struggled for freedom.
Stress vibrated deep in my gut. Self-soothe, self-soothe, I reminded myself. The air grew thicker with burning oil and a starburst of pain wracked my body. I was going to die. Unless…
No. How could I even think it? There had to be another way because what if I couldn’t send it back? What if it took me to the same terrible place it had taken them?
I peered out the windows, searching. There was no one. I turned my focus on the glove box. Maybe Aunt J kept a knife in there or a pair of floral scissors. I pushed the button hard, again and again. Jammed. My heart raced.
A burst of smoke puffed into the car’s interior. I coughed and closed my eyes. The pressure on my leg intensified and the sickening fumes filled me with dread. Eff it. I balled my hands into fists.
I recalled the spell I’d overheard my dad utter once. I recited it in my head before casting, making sure I had it right.