Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Second Chance by Nicole Ireland

A Second Chance
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What if you discovered you only had months to live? How would you tell your children, your husband, your parents? Would you even tell them at all?

When faced with the devastating news that her cancer treatments failed, Annabelle Dixon does what many terminally ill people do: she prays for a second chance.

A Second Chance is the debut novelette from author Nicole Ireland.

Nicole Ireland is an author and freelance writer from southern Maine. Over the past few years she has written for several companies,  including Mahalo, Demand Studios, and Break Studios, to name a few.  Currently, you can find her on MySpace as the Reality TV Curator.

In addition to freelance writing, Ms. Ireland is also a virtual assistant and compliance coordinator for a pizza dough production company located in southern Maine. Her main duties include maintaining the company's HACCP and OSHA programs.

In her spare time, Ms. Ireland likes to read and spend time outdoors with her two children.

What will readers like about your book?
I think readers will enjoy A Second Chance because it makes you think about life and what really matters. It makes you want to live life to its fullest and never take one single moment for granted. That's something we all lose sight of. We get so caught up in getting through each day that we forget to live in the moment and appreciate everything around us, from the sky to the sand beneath our feet. Sometimes we need to be reminded that life is what we make it, so make the most of it while you can. If you love someone, tell them. If you have a dream, follow it. Don't wait for tomorrow because tomorrow may never come.

Why did you self-publish?
I chose to self-publish because it allows me to tell my stories on my own terms. I don't have to please anyone but myself.  Self-publishing also allows me to have more creative freedom. I decide what artwork to use, what editor to use, etc. Plus, there's no wait time. When you're ready to publish, you can.

What is your writing process?
I don't have one single process that I follow. Sometimes I outline my ideas. Other times, I just start writing and see what unfolds.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
Oh gosh, it depends on what I'm writing and the amount of free time I have. Raising two children while working from home doesn't leave as much free time as I'd like. Because of that, it can take anywhere from a couple months to a couple of years, depending on what I'm working on. A Second Chance took a couple of years.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
A Second Chance was inspired by a compilation of events. My own cancer scare offered up the first piece of inspiration. Between my initial doctor's appointment and getting the results of my biopsy back, I went through a whirlwind of emotions. I was scared that it would come back that I had melanoma.

From there, my thoughts went crazy and I couldn't help but ask myself, What will you do if you find out you're dying. That thought scared me. I didn't want to leave my kids without a mom. When I finally got my results back, and found out my mole was benign, I was beyond relieved. I felt like I had a new lease on life, so to speak.

Over the next year, several family members and friends fought their own battles with cancer. Their battles made me relive my own feelings and fears. It was then that I decided I needed to write a story that addressed those feelings.

I had no idea, at that point, what A Second Chance would eventually turn into. To see the progression from then to now astounds me. I couldn't be any happier with the final piece.


That Friday in mid-September dawned bright and hopeful for Annabelle Dixon. The air's crispness marked the arrival of fall. Even the leaves on the trees in Annabelle?s front yard were beginning to change, transitioning from vibrant green to hues of orange, brown, yellow and red, preparing everyone for autumn?s cooler temperatures and flaming foliage.

As a child and teenager, Annabelle had always looked forward to the changeover from summer to fall, for it signified the start of a new school year and new beginnings.

Fall also meant hours spent outdoors, raking up the fallen leaves that littered the ground, carving jack o' lanterns with her parents, and drinking ice cold apple cider from a local orchard, traditions she now practiced with her own children.

That morning, Annabelle sat on her front porch steps, drinking a cup of coffee before her doctor's appointment scheduled for that day. While she sat there, her hands wrapped around the steaming mug, she watched a blue butterfly dance from bush to bush in front of her. The sight of the butterfly struck her as odd. It was unusual to see butterflies that late in the year.

It wasn't long before the butterfly's waltz was interrupted by the arrival of her parents as they pulled into Annabelle's driveway and parked beside her car.They waved to her as they made their way up the walkway.

'Morning, Mom. Morning, Dad, she said as she scooted to make room for them both to sit down beside her.

'Morning, Anna, her mother, Evelyn, said as she lowered herself down next to her daughter, her bones creaking and protesting loud enough for Annabelle to hear. How are you doing this morning?' she asked her daughter.

Maybe I need to ask you that question, Annabelle joked.

Oh, hush. I'm fine. Seriously, how are you?

I'm a little tired, but that's okay. It's expected. I know I've got a long way to go before I'm 100 percent again.

Her mother smiled and patted her on the knee. You'll feel better soon. The past few months have been rough, but you've pulled through. You're strong, Anna. You make us proud.

Annabelle's eyes misted over. Thanks, Mom. That means a lot to me. She stood up and looked around her. I guess I should head to my doctor's appointment now that you two are here.

Okay, sweetie. We'll be here when you get back, her father told her as he took the empty coffee mug from her hand.

Thanks. The kids are inside watching the television cartoons.
Annabelle rolled her eyes. Tell them I'll be back soon.

We will. Drive safely.

She nodded. Will do.

Before climbing into her car to head to her doctor?s appointment, she paused to turn her face to the sunlight beaming down on her from above; its rays warmed her inside and out. At that moment, her life felt almost perfect.

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  1. Great interview, Nicole. Reading the excerpt makes me anxious to read the whole book! :)

  2. Great interview, Nikki. Knowing the events in your real life that inspired you to write this story makes it all the more special.