Life is a Story Waiting to Be Told

JordanA Writer's Guide to Persistence, Business of Writing, Craft

Guest post by EJ Hanagan

IMG_5795-Edit-2-3Writing. Sometimes I feel like I am cursed because of my passion for writing. Like someone who is blessed with the talent of a singing voice, it is something that I feel the need to do. I can’t just push my writing voice aside and abandon all the voices and characters that are developing within me. I can’t forget what I see as I’m walking on the side of the road and am overtaken by an image that I feel needs to be described in words and shared with the world.  When I am working on a novel, I become so attached to my characters that it affects me on a very deep level. This cast of characters becomes alive in my mind as if I have several different personalities dueling for my attention, begging me to write down their quirks, their flaws and their voice.

While I was in the midst of penning my latest novel, Underwater Secrets, I felt so close to Emelia Nolen. I had created her because there was a piece of me that so badly wanted to be Emelia. I’ve always wanted to be transported back to the sixties, if only for a day, and I wanted that carefree, loving persona that was so in line with who she was.  She never spoke poorly of anyone, which is a rare trait to find in someone. She bit her tongue like a trained ventriloquist and pressed forward when life posed a threat.

As a writer, I tend to create characters that have qualities that I strive for myself, as if the conception of these characters are for my own personal progression.   Whether that be a certain personality trait that I have been working towards gaining or a simple tone in the character’s voice that I find endearing.  In some sense, writing for me is a form of self-help.

Life is about stories. Each day we wake up, we decide how our story is going to play out, how the plot of the next 24 hours will leave us feeling accomplished or leave us wanting more. We decide whether we are going to embrace the day and be grateful for the things we have or ungrateful for the things that we long for. These thoughts are what have driven me to write my next novel, which will be the first of a series involving five women who think the grass is always greener. Because in life there is always a story to be told.


EJ Hanagan is a writer, fitness fanatic, obsessive reader and animal lover. She lives in a sleepy beach town outside of Boston with her husband, their new baby girl and their two giant Newfoundland dogs.

After spending four years in the Air Force, EJ put her fire for fitness to good use and worked as a personal trainer while going to college. If it weren’t for the amazing, brave people that she met while in the military, she wouldn’t have the passion that she does now, to focus on bringing awareness to veterans with PTSD. Her hope is to bring the invisible scars of war to the surface through her writing and community involvement.

Twitter: @EJHanagan


About Underwater Secrets:

A mysterious photo of a handsome stranger. A forgotten china set tucked away in the corner of the attic…

Claire Fitzgerald is already struggling to live up to the perfect people around her when she’s faced with her mother’s death. While sifting through the pieces of her mother’s past, she discovers a need to reconcile her memories of a woman she idolized with the truth of who she really was.

Alternating between generations and intertwining the stories of Claire and her mother, Underwater Secrets teaches that sometimes the key to loving ourselves involves learning to love the people around us, quirks and all.


JordanLife is a Story Waiting to Be Told