What 9/11 Means to Me and My Novel, Sprinter

Never Forget

Image from Pixabay
It's been 17 years since terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center, killing almost 3,000 people including rescuers. One plane crashed into the Pentagon, killing nearly 200. The plane that was bound for another target crashed into a field, the lives of those on the plane numbering 40 people. Most of us remember where we were on 9/11/01. Some lost family, friends, and loved ones.

Where Was I on 9/11/01?
As a sophomore at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL, where I would later earn my B.A. in English, I was in poetry class at the time of the attack in New York City. Not until after class did I hear from people in the hallways that the World Trade Center had been struck by planes.

From a visit to my alma mater in 2016

When I left class, I walked to the house on Saragossa Street where I lived with six other female roommates. I found most of them glued to the television. And I couldn't look away, either. For hours we watched the footage from New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

My Sister Lived in D.C.

When I heard about the attack on the Pentagon, I immediately called my sister, Larisa. I couldn't get through at first, but eventually I was able to speak to her and received her reassurances that she was fine. Her commute involved traveling past the Pentagon, and she saw rising smoke on her drive into work.

Image from Pixabay

Remembering Sept. 11th

In 2006, my dear cousin, Alyssa, and I took a road trip to New York City with a Polish opera singer. But that's another story...

During that trip, we visited the site of the World Trade Center. The construction had begun on the Freedom Tower.

From my first visit to NYC after 9/11

My cousin, Alyssa, and me

Alyssa overlooking the site of the former World Trade Center

Ten years later in 2016, my husband and I went to New York City to visit my author friend, Rachel Printy, and my cousin, Allie. We went to the National September 11th Memorial Museum and visited the reflecting pools.

Above: the reflecting pools at the National Sept 11th Memorial

Freedom Tower

Author and dear friend Rachel Printy and me enjoying a rooftop view

Family surprise! When hubby and I went to see my cousin, Allie, I was greeted by the rest of the family: Aunt Kelly, Uncle Andy, cousin Ryan (missing cousin Megan).

In 2001, I didn't know anyone living in New York City. Now in 2018, I have family and friends there. I still shed tears when I see images and video of the senseless and brutal murders of that awful day.

Putting 9/11 in My Novel: Sprinter
2016 Royal Palm Literary Award: First Place Women's Fiction
Current status: Seeking a literary agent

In my novel, Sprinter (currently unpublished), a runner named Riley suffers from PTSD fourteen years after her mother's murder at the 1986 Athens Marathon.
The story is set in 2001, and the 9/11 attacks take place in a single chapter in the second half of the novel. The event is by no means the focus of the story, which is set in California. One of the characters is in New York City during the attacks, and Riley cannot reach him and has no idea what may have happened to him.

So when can you read Sprinter?

My goal is to have the novel traditionally published, and that's why I'm seeking a literary agent. It's a long process which involves a lot of rejection emails (I'm up to 23 so far).

In the meantime, read The Running Girls for free!

Tomorrow only, 9/12/18, get a free Kindle copy of The Running Girls and enjoy a feel-good, inspirational story about two girls trying to complete a 500 mile summer challenge.

No Kindle? No problem! The Kindle app is free on smartphones and tablets.