Farragut mom makes time to write novel

Michelle Gilliam, a wife and full-time registered nurse raising three sons in Farragut, found time to write a fictional novel, “Roman Rescue: Who Will Save the Hero?”

The book, published by Wee Bit Different Publishing, took three to four years to complete, she said.

“I have one day off [from work] a week and at night, after the kids go to bed [to write], she said. “It always helps to have a cleaning lady.”

Gilliam works at The University of Tennessee Vein Center, has been married to David Gilliam for 28 years and has three sons, Jacob, Alex and Nathan. She was looking for something to prevent the “empty nest” syndrome, so she returned to her passion, writing.

“When you have three young sons, they need their mother a lot,” she said. “Somewhere around middle school, they start gravitating toward their dad a lot more.

“It’s a good thing, a natural thing, but I found I had a lot more time on my hands, and I didn’t want to be one of those moms who fell apart when the last one left for college.

“So, I started going back to my passion for writing and went back to college.”

Gilliam took classes in poetry and creative writing at UT and Pellissippi State Community Col-lege.

“So many local professors helped me take my ideas and put them into book form. If they hadn’t believed in me, it wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

Gilliam also was inspired by her father, who dabbled in screen writing; her mother, an avid reader; and her husband, who came from a family of Irish storytellers.

“So, I think I grew up surrounded by what makes a story great, how deep you go and how to teach the readers while entertaining them,” she said..

Gilliam said she came up with the idea for her book when she took the advice of great authors, who said, “Create a character you know really well first.”

“So, I started writing Maggie’s story from her birth as a 50,000-word challenge for National Novel Writers Month,” she said. “We challenge ourselves to write 50,000 words.

“I was zipping along [with the writing], and the story slowed down when [the character] went to Italy,” she said. “I knew that’s where the real story began … I started writing the plot and it just flowed.

Gilliam said she is very happy with the way the book turned out.

“The whole experience is exciting, like a roller coaster ride to me.

“I painfully obsessed over the detail, but after hearing from readers, it was worth it,” she said.

Gilliam advised other would-be writers to “know your characters.”

“Your characters will know your plot,” she said.

She now is writing her second novel.

“I dreamed it so I cannot say the [writing] process is the same for every book,” she said.

There are print and eBook versions of “Roman Rescue: Who Will Save the Hero” available on Amazon.