“It was liberating to write fiction,” Gossie says. “As a journalist, you have to learn to be creative within the confines of telling a story based on facts and figures and events. Those facts and figures become the backbone of the story and the creativity comes from building the flesh around those facts. Writing a novel is like having a blank canvas and a license to be as creative or as crazy as your mind can be.”
But there is some truth behind “Fade Into You.” The novel is a fictionalized account of the life of Gossie’s sister, Lisa, who died in 2004, and to whom the book is dedicated.
“My sister was more full of life than anyone I knew,” Gossie says, “but she got sick when she was 15 years old and her health declined rapidly.”
Before she turned 16, Lisa Gossie was in a nursing home, unable to walk, talk or take care of herself. She ate through a feeding tube that was placed in her stomach.
“She was basically vegetative,” Gossie says. “It was torture to talk with her, wondering if she knew I was there, wondering if she could hear the words I was saying, but knowing she was unable to answer the questions I had for her.”
When Lisa Gossie was moved into the nursing home, she was given six months to live. She lived almost 20 years after that prognosis.
“That just shows what a fighter she was and how strong and resilient her spirit was,” Gossie says.
Before his sister got sick, Gossie says his family moved often and the siblings formed a special bond because they were both the perpetual new kids in town.
“My sister was my best friend during childhood,” Gossie says, “so seeing her get sick is one of the hardest things I have gone through in my life.”
Gossie says the one thing that helped him cope with his sister’s illness was knowing what a vivid and powerful imagination she possessed.
“I started thinking about Lisa’s imagination and how creative and brilliant she was,” Gossie says. “Nothing ever kept her down in life, so I knew her mind was too powerful to keep her trapped in that nursing home bed. I knew she’d figure a way out.”
Gossie says he chooses to believe his sister used the power of imagination to keep living the life she was living before her illness. That belief, he says, helped him cope with the heartbreak of losing his best friend — a sentiment that serves as the backdrop for “Fade Into You.”
“I truly believe she went on living her life — learning to drive, going to prom, falling in love for the first time,” Gossie says. “Even though those experiences were only in her mind, they were real to her. And if those imagined experiences were real to her, that WAS her reality. The nursing home was just a bad dream.”
Gossie says that while some of the events in “Fade Into You” were inspired by real-life experiences and people who came into his life, he stresses that it is a work of fiction.
“Ellie, the main character in the book, is not Lisa,” Gossie says. “Ellie’s parents are not based on my parents. It’s a work of my imagination.”
Gossie describes “Fade Into You” as a love letter to the power of the human mind and spirit.
“Even though this book deals with illness and loss, ‘Fade Into You’ is not a sad book by any means,” Gossie says. “This is a story of hope, of unconditional love and learning to find light on our darkest days.”
And what does Gossie hope readers will glean from the journey he shared with his sister? Perhaps in addition to honoring the time we have with those we love, also having recognition and appreciation for how imagination can transform our lives.
“What spectacular lives we could all live if we could simply rely on our imagination to make all our dreams come true,” Gossie says. “The world truly becomes limitless. Life becomes heaven on Earth. And that’s what I believe happened in Lisa’s mind. And that’s what happens in ‘Fade Into You.’”
You can get a copy of “Fade Into You” here.