This Nearly Was Mine - Nancy Farkas
We all face that dreaded question at some point in our lives. "What if. . ."
It doesn't matter what follows those first two words, the idea behind it is the same. It's our mental exploration down a different path than the one we chose. These day dreams can be fun and a little exciting, leaving us with a smile on our faces, or they can consume our lives and keep us from enjoying the lives we have.
In This Nearly Was Mine, Annie is forced to come to terms with the decisions she made in life, and the ones she left behind when an old flame re-enters her life. The plot and tone are both enchanting, never leaving the reader with anxiety or frustration.
As with much Creative Nonfiction, it's near impossible (even for the author) to fully distinguish between the facts and the embellishes. And those lines blend together beautifully throughout this work.
I very much enjoyed this book, mostly because I found myself relating to Annie's plight. I once had that "what if" man from my past that I have since come to terms with. Regardless, we've all had a variety of instances where we've wondered what might have been.
Some Bio Information
Nancy Farkas, a student of psychology and linguistics, used her real life experiences as a social worker, wife, mother, and passionate world traveler to bring life and depth to the cast of characters in her debut novel, This Nearly Was Mine.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Whenever I told anyone about Francisco coming back into my life after almost thirty years,
everyone, and I mean everyone, had some type of visceral reaction (some even had tears in their eyes, saying “I have the chills,” or “this should be a book or movie”). A friend who is a much better writer than I am was moved and asked if she could write about it. I agreed, having neither the time nor the interest in writing about it myself. We sat for hours as I drummed up as many memories that I could from 1980-not an easy task. When too much time went by and she had not written anything, I decided to write the novel myself. I started writing the very same night I saw “South Pacific” on Broadway. The references and paraphrasing of Michener’s writing in my story was not just a literary device. I really did feel about Spain the same way he described feeling about the South Pacific. And of course, the song, This Nearly Was Mine: “one dream in my heart” just pushed me over the edge! !
2. Is this book based on real life experiences?
A great deal of the story is based on real characters and experiences, but there are many events that were exaggerated, embellished, and just down-right made up. It is impossible for me to quantify how much was true and how much wasn’t. The ways in which Annie reacted to lost loves, illnesses in her family, or problems with a child, for example, were the same reactions I had to similar occurrences in my life. Whether or not the experiences were “real” is not the issue the emotions that accompany traumas are what resonate with my readers!
3. Was there a deciding moment in your life when you knew you wanted to be an author?
The very first person who read my manuscript told me she read the book in one sitting; the only other book she felt that way about was Anna Karenina. Admittedly, she is a very close friend, but she said that if she was so absorbed after hearing these stories so many times, others would be, also. She singlehandedly convinced me to have it professionally edited and published. Contrary to what people think, This Nearly Was Mine is not a memoir, so it has no historical value to my family. Had she not reacted that way, I might have just let the manuscript die in my computer!
4. How would you describe your writing style?
Roman à clef, first person narrative, and stream of consciousness all rolled into one!
5. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
Not one word of This Nearly Was Mine was written before midnight. I write in a quiet room, then edit and research until I fall asleep in my chair. More often than not, I write until dawn. Perfect activity for an insomniac!
6. Describe the perfect writing environment.
No external distractions. Access to internet for historical, literary, and musical research!
7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?
To have a one-hit wonder and not feel compelled write another novel. I am flattered and inspired when people ask for a sequel (or trilogy!), but I would be fine pulling a J. D. Salinger.