Snuggled safely in my bed, my mother would regale me with stories of my maternal grandmother, who came into her prime before women won the right to vote in 1920. Mom, who’d usually clam up when asked for details in daily life, never held back. As a result, hers were riveting retellings – and I couldn’t get enough of them: My grandmother’s career as Manhattan’s rising star ballerina, her love of Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova – and their costumes, her passion for galloping horses in the country, her wariness around men, and being selected by the Red Cross to drive an ambulance during WWI.
I couldn’t get enough. We’d never met but were forever linked –desperate for the freedom to be ourselves. We’d both sought it out with ballet, riding horses, and driving. But my grandmother’s leap to her death from a fourth-story window in Manhattan changed me forever. I’d cry whenever I heard the story as my mother struggled to explain why it happened. How had everything gone so wrong? Who was to blame? Were there missing stories that might explain it? How could a woman who had accomplished so much see death as her only option?
So dear reader, this is how DRIVEN was born, out of a desire to explore an alternate ending. I wanted my grandmother to feel her worth – marry for love, or not at all if that’s what she preferred. It was my gift to her – imagining something better.