Smile, Old Heart novel


Dear Reader,

The inspiration for this novel came from a book by Lurlene McDaniel, “She Died Too Young”. One of the books in the “One Last Wish” series, it was published by Bantam Books on March 1994. Although its main reading audience were children ages 10 and up, I still love to read it, even now, because of the many good values explored in the story. It is a story of friends, of family, of enemies, of love, of survival, and of life.

I was fascinated and touched by one very specific quote in the story:

Katie’s voice had risen with the tide of panic rising inside of her. “There’re two people in need and only one heart.”

The two people she refers to here are her two best friends, Chelsea James and Jillian Longado – both girls born with weak hearts. When their medical situation grows desperate, Chelsea finds herself in a contest for her life against her very best friend. This conflict is tear-jerking because of the question that runs through the minds of the two girls:

“Is it fair that there’s only a chance for one of them to survive?”

Deeply touched and inspired by this story’s conflict and theme, I decided to write a story anchored on a similar concept. I thought that if “She Died Too Young” climaxed in a conflict between two girls, how would a story be if the conflict was between a girl and a boy? Moreover, I was definitely intrigued by the idea of love set in a conflict. I mean, “She Died Too Young” explored the love between friends but what if another story explores the love of a romantically-involved couple? How can an author execute the sacrifice and selflessness for life of the other described in the latter?

So I put my heroine in a situation that she knows about everything in the story, yet she tries to be an altruist for all the ones she loves.

I must admit, my dear reader, I did not base my story solely in Lurlene McDaniel’s “She Died Too Young”, for doing that will be plagiarism. Instead, I mixed many different ideas and elements inspired from several sources and in doing so, I made something originally mine in imagination.

For example, I put my main character in the life of a girl suffering from the severely strict and brutal upbringing of her mother. I based this idea from my own experience, as I am the younger child who endured the brunt of a mother’s anger and discipline since childhood. Everything I wrote in my heroine’s first-person point of view – which she describes as her experiences from her mother – are my very own. So if you grimace at the awful treatment she received, well, I am speaking from a reality of life – of the reality of my life.

As for the love triangle, I’ve built in the familiarity I get of love from my friends and family. Also, of the traditional boy-loves-girl-but-girl-chooses-another form of love story which is the trend of romances these days.

Though it may seem so, the ending of this story will not be tragic. I am a fan of Happy-Ever-Afters and I believe that everyone must have them, no matter what their life is. You can judge my story later, but I promise you that in my story, you will learn that death is not a heartbreaking event to cry about, but a sacrifice to be offered to another person. Just like what world-renowned author Mitch Albom wrote in his bestselling inspirational book, “The Five People You Meet In Heaven”: “When you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”

I hope that you will enjoy and find something valuable in this novel of mine that you will cherish for a lifetime. I really gave my heart to this work, and so I pray that you will feel it while reading.

God bless you!

The Author,

Jenny Mae S. Talaver


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