If she could pinpoint one event that spurred her lust for life, it would be a two-car, head-on collision in north Forsyth nearly eight years ago.
The event left the other driver dead and had doctors telling Tracy Anne Bertini, then 35, that she would never walk again.
But she did, and the events that unfurled afterwards have culminated in a 200-page book authored by Bertini and set to be released this month.
“I’ve always wanted to write a book, I just didn’t know if the timing was right,” Bertini said.
After the accident, she gained a new perspective.
“That was a turning point for me,” Bertini said. “Life is just flying by, we’re not promised tomorrow, so I started saying ‘what do I really want to do with my life?’ and the writing bug thing started again.”
Bertini lived in Cumming for over a decade before moving up to Dawson County to escape the traffic. The Massachusetts native and health care professional had never written a word before she sat down one Saturday this spring with a cup of coffee in hand.
The words poured out, and the end result is “The Cloud of Deception,” a novel that Bertini’s publisher coined a “mystery thriller.”
Locals will recognize a lot of landmarks and street names in the book, which is set in Cumming, Dawsonville and Helen.
“My grandmother is German, so of course in my book I make her a German scientist who runs form the Nazi’s,” Bertini said. “What better place for her to hide than in Helen?”
Her life, Bertini says, is mirrored in her book, from the settings and events down to the characters themselves.
“For me it was a way to tell part of my life story but not be so naked,” she said. “It’s underneath all these characters, a lot of the female characters have a part of me in them.”
The inspiration, though, came from some of her most recent life events.
“I never knew my father or his family all growing up,” she said. “So, the last 20-something years I’ve been looking for them.”
This past February, she found them.
“I have a brother and he lives out in Denver, Colo. and we went out to visit him,” Bertini recounted. “And in passing he said to me, ‘you need to check out the conspiracy theories about the Denver airport.’ I got home from our visit, started looking it up and I went woah, this is crazy stuff.”
For me it was a way to tell part of my life story but not be so naked,Tracy Anne Bertini
Bertini explained that there are four murals in the Denver airport that depict some kind of post-apocalyptic world or mass genocide. They’re connected to a web of conspiracy theories, she said.
“So I started thinking about it,” Bertini said. “I always wanted to write a book and put my life story in there...but how could I tie Denver and Georgia together?”
The Georgia Guidestones, of course.
“It’s the American Stonehenge and it's right here in Elberton, Georgia,” she said. “It was made in 1980 and a man named Robert C. Christian is the one that commissioned a granite company to make this monument, and it is rumored to be the ten commandments of the Illuminati.”
Bertini said she took the Georgia Guidestones and the Denver airport conspiracy theories and tied them together with characters loosely based on herself, her husband and her newly-discovered brother.
“I feel by using things that have happened in my life, it really gives depth to the characters, and you really care about them, you want to get to know them, you root for them,” Bertini said.
Bertini said that writing the book has felt meant-to-be, like something she should have been doing her whole life. The process has taken three months total, and Bertini took only six weeks to write the book.
“The Cloud of Deception” is set to come out this month and is published by Xlibris. Bertini said the book is the first in a series of three, and she’s already begun writing the second.
“There's still some conspiracy theories and urban legends that connect both Georgia and Denver,” she said. Dawson Forest will of course make an appearance.
Barnes and Noble at the Collection at Forsyth is holding a book launch for the book, on a date that is yet to be set.
For updates and the date of the book launch at Barnes and Noble, follow @cloudofdeception on Facebook.