Rebecca Wells Overcomes Illness to Write Ya-Ya's in Bloom

Posted on April 2, 2005

Rebecca Wells, the bestselling author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere, battled chronic illness for seven years before she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease and babesiosis, a rare, debilitating tick-borne illness with symptoms similar to malaria. But she never let her illness interfere with her writing.

At her sickest, she was unable even to lift her hands, so she would lie in bed and dictate the book into a tape recorder. On better days, her husband, photographer Tom Schworer, would carry her to her computer, where she would work for 20 minutes at a time before stopping to rest. On her best days, she could write about four or five hours, less than half of her normal level.

In her bleakest moments, Wells said she drew inspiration from another esteemed Southern author, Flannery O'Connor, who wrote while suffering from lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that eventually killed her. "If ever there was a model to help me out here, it's Flannery," Wells said.

With a correct diagnosis and treatment, she is improving--although the recovery is a slow process. Although she is unable to tour to promote her new book, Ya-Yas in Bloom, we're sure it will be a bestseller.

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