Category: fan mail


august 3, 2017 2017-08-02 017

I discovered mention of “Revealed Jesus” in the 1924 newspapers I used in my research. It’s important to remember that news was not reported in the way it is today. Though the 1924 newspaper referred to William Seymour as being both alive and in Texas, he had made the move to California long before his death two years earlier, in 1922. Perhaps the paper was referring to his movement and his followers more than to the man himself. I honestly can’t remember and my research is no longer in my possession so I have no way of reviewing the original articles that inspired the “Revealed Jesus” poems. My characters knew only what they read in the paper or what they might have heard in conversation. Authors must decide whether to be true to what their characters actually knew or to give them knowledge which would make the book historically correct though not an accurate portrait of the time. My choice was to keep the book true to what the characters would actually have known. An excellent question. Thank you.

Advertisements

7162017lc 2017-07-15 038

The names of the plants were chosen for their sound. I simply explored the names of plants that grow in Vermont and selected the ones I imagined would delight the ear of my character, Esther.

Hudson River august 2017 bca 2017-08-15 096

1872 Lighthouse on the Hudson River (photo taken August 2017)

Although A LIGHT IN THE STORM was inspired by the very real lighthouse keeper, Ida Lewis, the book is a work of fiction. I spent over a year researching the Civil War, the particular complexities of living along the Mason-Dixon Line, and the duties and responsibilities of lighthouse keepers during the 1800s. Many of the details in my book are drawn from newspapers of the period…perhaps that’s what gives A LIGHT IN THE STORM its air of reality.

DSC00111 - Copy

I wrote JUST JUICE in this house in Williamsville, Vermont. Less than a year after I took this photograph, the house was swept away during Hurricane Irene.

may 6, 2017lc 2017-05-03 031

In an attempt to make my books more inclusive, I often opt out of naming a specific town as the setting, or I give the town a fictionalized name. The research I did for JUST JUICE extended beyond any small town in Vermont, even beyond Vermont itself to many other states in the country. This story could take place anywhere.

 

may 6, 2017lc 2017-05-02 106

I give you the age of Juice’s sisters but not the age of Juice herself.

Her two little sisters are under five. Her two older sisters are over ten. I imagined Juice to be somewhere between.

jan-8-2017lc-2017-01-07-012

When I write in free verse I usually avoid formal constraints. Though I do love occasional internal rhyme, I try not to overdo it as too much makes the work seem self-conscious and contrived. Instead, I arrange the  verse to suggest the rhythm and cadence of the character’s native language or accent. I think of my novels in verse more as theater than as one long poem.

78020d62-d268-4e0b-a4c4-3f1a156f6c8e-014

THE CATS IN KRASINSKI SQUARE was inspired by a story I discovered in a newspaper from the 1940s while researching ALEUTIAN SPARROW. This is the closest I have come to tackling the unbearable subject of the Holocaust.

9b303ed8-c1e3-4883-ab72-9d1ad7dea20d-108

While researching, I come across multiple articles on certain events. I also peruse numerous advertisements for everything from baby bonnets to basketball games. I make an effort to fold these bits and pieces from the period into my narrative in a way that reflects how often I came upon them in my research. So yes, the events in the book, from the accidental fire to the curiosity about the Dionne quintuplets received multiple mentions and attention in the media of the early 1930s.

road-trip-with-kate-to-arizona-2016lc-287There are no guarantees in life. If a formula existed for becoming a best-selling author  the market would be flooded with best-sellers to the point that “best-seller” would cease to have the meaning we presently give it.  I’m certain there are successful writers who followed a path to fame and fortune, who sought publicity first, placing the goal of being a “best-seller” above the deeper goal of communicating profoundly with other members of the human race, and I’ll bet some of them are quite satisfied with their choices, but it would not be my advice to you to follow that path. Perhaps a better goal would be to write books  on subjects and themes you care deeply about. Dig down into your material, dig  down into your understanding of yourself and of the world. Understand that there are mountains, beyond mountains, beyond mountains, that the superficial has its place but may not be as enduring, or as gratifying as the longer view. Write what’s in your heart, write what’s on your mind, and if it becomes a best-seller, you have that, too, to celebrate at the end of the process.