While many of the scenes depicted in Lisa Mayme Corbit’s debut book, “The Truth About Melissa: A Soul Mate Experiment,” are fictionalized, the Sequim author says much of her own life story comes out in her lead female character.
“Every story is based on a kernel of truth,” says Corbit, the teacher-turned-author. “About 80 percent of the book is autobiographical.”
Corbit, who taught English for years in the United States — including at Sequim High School — before teaching overseas and returning in 2015, the transition from instructor to wordsmith has been a challenging one.
“I gave (this book) a good start about 10 years ago,” says Corbit, who now works two days a week at Peninsula College advising international students and otherwise focuses on her writing.
Corbit left the states for the United Arab Emirates in 2012, then worked in Paraguay in 2014 and returned stateside in 2015.
Instead of teaching from novels, she decided she’d try writing a book; this one is listed in the biography and autobiography/personal memoirs genre.
“After teaching English grading essays all day, the last thing I wanted to do was go home and write,” Corbit says. “So I decided to take a year off from teaching, put something together and make something happen.”
That meant delving into a deeply personal story that she says is based in large part on her relationship with her ex-husband.
In “The Truth About Melissa,” Jonathan is challenged by his family to create his ideal soul mate and becomes consumed with the process of composing her life story. He writes letters (and even replies as her), imagines her in detail and, after years of the fictionalized woman never materializing, writes a breakup letter. But he then meets Melissa, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the woman Jonathan created in his mind.
Corbit calls the 291-page book “the novelized experience of the power of manifested creativity and the culmination of what happens when that creation unites with reality.”
“So many things matched up with me; it’s my story,” she says, recalling when she found she was in a relationship with someone who had created a fictional soul mate.
Completing the book was one thing, Corbit says, but marketing the book was quite another. She put out queries to publishers but also went head-long into self-publishing mode, working with a Port Townsend editor for a good six months, producing a website, promoting the book via various forms of social media and handling all other aspects of production such as book cover artwork.
The Sequim author describes her work as “quick, easy reads” and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, online at www.outskirtspress.com/thetruthaboutmelissa.
Corbit will be signing books at the Holiday Bazaar at Greywolf Elementary School (171 Carlsborg Road) on Nov. 18 and the Sequim Elks Lodge’s Holiday Bazaar (143 Port Williams Road) on Nov. 25, among other appearances.
Corbit says she’s hard at work on her next book. It’s fiction, she says, “but people are going to recognize themselves in it.”