1920 On my thirteenth birthday everything changed. I was up and out early to check my trap lines. The air was full of the sounds and smells of spring: the sweet scent of Ma’s favorite purple lilacs, the sing-song warble of mating orioles. My overalls were soaked to the knees from walking through the hay … Continue reading Teaser: Chapter 1 of “Hope”
It's funny where a writing prompt may lead you. The prompt that resulted in the following excerpt suggested I write about something in which I have expertise. But what emerged (don't ask me how) was this story. Not only do I not have any expertise in the subject, I also have no experience in the … Continue reading Writing Prompts and Where They Lead You
Have you ever tried visualizing your characters as movie actors? I suppose it's rather like "If my novel were a movie..." but really it's more a means of finding an image that represents your characters' looks and personalities. I've spent some time looking for images that fit Hope and her friends. Sometimes an image will … Continue reading If “Hope” was a movie…
When you start a story you never know where it’s going to go. The earliest version of my novel, Hope, looks nothing like it does today. Here’s where it started: I was trying to come up with story ideas, and the thought struck me that it might be interesting to write an unlikable protagonist. Instantly, … Continue reading Origins: Hope
This week I’m spending time in one of my favorite places—the Adirondack Mountains—and the inspiration for the setting of my WIP Hope. We are near the hamlet of Indian Lake in the southwestern part of the Adirondack Park, one of the largest forest preserves in the country. Now most people think New York City when … Continue reading My (and Hope’s) New York State
I grew up in a house rich with history. It was built in the early nineteenth century by a Revolutionary War veteran, home to a future Civil War Surgeon, and--quite possibly--a stop on the Underground Railroad. Central New York is well-known for its participation in the emancipation of slaves and the women's suffrage movement. Seneca … Continue reading Story Origins: And Know They Love You
I’ve been searching and searching for recent comps to my novel, Hope. Vinegar Hill, by A. Manette Ansay, and Sentence of Marriage, by Shayne Parkinson are close. They are relatively contemporary (although outside of the recommended limit), and they both show how the surrounding culture can pressure a woman into accepting what should be unacceptable. … Continue reading How do you find “comps” for your novel?
It's difficult for anyone younger than a Baby Boomer to understand how ingrained young women were with their role in society before the age of "women's lib." Oh sure, you could go to college, get a job, have a career--but shame on you if you didn't marry, have children, and stay at home to raise … Continue reading Changing Times