My sister disappeared on 01/13/11. Her last words to me, filled with all the heat and passion of someone who knows they’re doing wrong, “I’ll call you when I’m state side.” She never did. The past few weeks have been a never ending roller coaster of stress and panic as a private detective, FBI, and police in two different countries search for my sister. To raise the stakes, she flat out told me the name of the person she was going to go visit, a person with five rape convictions.

Yeah. They can’t find him either.

I try to keep my personal life out of this blog, but every now and again my personal life and writing collide. The truth is that through all this, a small little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering, “If you ever find her, this would make such a great book.”

It doesn’t help that when I share the full story of what has happened so far, most people mention that you couldn’t come up with a better novel. I know that, but at the same time it is right at my limit for how personal I’m willing to make my writing.

I think we all have our limits. How much of our inner-selves we are willing to reveal to the public. The problem with that is that the story closest to your soul is the one most likely to touch your readers. Powerful fiction isn’t just a story with a plot and theme and characters. It’s the inner workings of another person’s heart, and that’s what people are buying when they hit the bookstores.

I don’t know whether I’m going to turn this into a story or not. I keep a notebook full of thoughts I have related to my sister, and I stay on the phone with my parents as they tell me what the police are trying next. I don’t know if writing this story would be healing, or harmful. I just don’t know.

I am quite sure none of you have had an experience quite like this one in your life, but perhaps you’ve got an epic story of your own. Have you told it? Fictionalized it? How did it impact your writing?

I’d love to know.

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