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Some of the Story Behind the Stories

February 2014

My husband and family have been and continue to be the highest priorities in my life. They have inspired me to develop my creative self. Because of the enrichment from my commitments to home-making, I have been able to use to their deepest potential the talents that God gave to me. I live my life, collecting images and weaving a story from them. The fiction forms in my mind, often in the midst of domestic duties. Actual composition begins when the “scenes” and “narration” begin to roll like film in my head. In the case of THE DAWN, organizing, writing, continued research, revising, and final edits took a little over three full years (September 2008 – November 2011). Looking back, I can see that I was preparing myself for this grand effort for at least three years in advance of writing the draft. The novel was called NOTTINGHAM from its inception in 1993. Halfway through the proofreading of the final draft, the proofreader and I agreed that the title was all wrong. It then took me about three minutes to come up with the right title: THE DAWN. This tome thereby left the trilogy of novels starting with “N” that I conceived in 1993. When I first began to write THE DAWN, I had no idea that it would grow to epic proportions! I simply followed the rule that I used to teach writing to my children: Whatever length it takes to tell the story is the length you must use. Don’t make your composition longer or shorter than is necessary to say what you must say fully and well.

The initial writing of NORTHSTAR, my first novel, occurred over several years in spurts during the late 1980s. The novel was first published in 1994 by a small publisher who proceeded, with his son, to embezzle $10 million of his company funds. Crime was evidently a family affair. A federal case quite literally ensued and my novel and copyright were returned to me. Life then took me in the direction of homeschooling my children; and I persisted in reading and in researching “my novels.” In January 2012, I input and edited NORTHSTAR, thus creating the digital version. There are print copies of the first version “out there” and I must accept the possibility that they will probably become collectibles!

NOCTURNE was written swiftly and rather unexpectedly during the first two weeks of July 2012. It was revised during the next two weeks. I accomplished final edits and proofreading within ten days after the end of revisions. This short novel was conceptualized in 1993 and researched shortly thereafter; but I threw away all materials for it just before I began to draft THE DAWN in 2008. I honestly thought the thing was defunct. I’d even told friends one morning in late June 2012 that I was spending the summer resting and recovering from the previous summer of finishing revisions and beginning to edit THE DAWN. The next day I wrote the first three pages of NOCTURNE. Little did I know that a third piece of fiction was part of my recovery! The process of composing the first draft of a short novel like NOCTURNE was akin to piecing a small, intricate quilt. With an oeuvre like THE DAWN, the work felt more like weaving a huge rug, a huge weighty rug. Although these works of fiction were conceptualized decades ago, I persevered within a very busy life to accomplish research and compose passages of dialogue and narration in those cloth-bound journals. I then culled the writing from the journals for each novel and revised/edited those bits and pieces of writing onto the 8-1/2 x 11 pads of paper. Next I organized the written pages and research materials into file folders. Work on my laptop began when the organizational (pre-planning) process ended.

For some insight and a clue into how the trigger in my Muse is pulled, here is a link to a Warner Brothers cartoon. Although I am much more a Hanna-Barbera enthusiast, I realize in total retrospect that this lively clip must have set off all cylinders in my creative mind to move toward the writing of NOCTURNE.

I recall watching this cartoon sometime in 2006, and then I purchased an 8- or 10-CD box set of John Dowland compositions shortly thereafter. The music was not-so-endearingly referred to by Dear Daughter as “Trip-A-Trip.” I no longer own that box set of English Renaissance music. I offered it to Dear Daughter during an artistic purge and she politely declined. I believe that the rapid-fire writing of NOCTURNE in the summer of 2012 was assisted by the departure of the Trip-a-Trip music from my life, but also by a lengthy discussion with Dear Son who always inadvertently focuses my Muse on something quite fantastic, i.e., imaginative or fanciful, remote from reality. With influences from both of my children, I trip the light fantastic! A clear sign that I am about to start to write a novel is that I purge the files of all unnecessary materials and inferior writing. I then store the remaining files in an area where I can’t see them, such as a detached garage! I basically do not want to see anything concerning a novel until I am forced by my creative self to commit my entire self to writing this piece of fiction, work that can last anywhere from several months to several years. When that commitment can no longer be avoided, I drag out the storage boxes, sort through the files, and set to work. I then organize my life around the writing instead of the writing around my life. I insist on enjoying my life and try my best to not allow writing to overtake it. There were very many times, however, during the writing of THE DAWN that I had to surrender to my muse. It was during those times that my husband and children were the sources of strength, laughter, and perspective to me.

THE GHOST came upon me unexpectedly and suddenly during the winter of 2012/2013. It was drafted during the Columbus Day weekend of 2013 and finalized during the spring of 2014. The backstory to THE GHOST is a backdrop of events in my life, past and present. I wrote two essays during the creation of this novel that present the ways in which life and fiction merge to produce the writing of a novel. Rather than rework these awakenings, I offer these essays that helped to illuminate my path toward THE GHOST. February 2013

Fall 2013


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