With my debut novel, Shadow of the Hawk, now available, I can’t help but think back on life before the book.
Most writers, or artists of any variety, must work a “day job.” It often requires years and years (and years) of perfecting one’s art before anyone takes notice of it. And once it’s finished, that’s the goal – to get someone to take notice. It is only when our art garners attention that the story becomes real to anyone other than the writer. If you’ve ever read a great novel, or perhaps written one, you know that although a story is strong and worthy, it must find its audience before given any merit. The search for value can be long and arduous, and more often than not, requires money along the way for simple things like food and bills.
To be employed at an income producing job while simultaneously writing a novel is interesting, to say the least. Many times, those closest to the writer may not even know about the book, yet it affects everyone—customers, clientele, vendors, bosses, and co-workers.
So to all those folks who worked alongside me for so many years, I want to apologize. Were there days when it seemed I wasn’t paying attention? Did I need to say, “I’m sorry, would you repeat that, please?” Or did I walk past without a greeting? I promise, it wasn’t your fault. While you were with me—so were the characters from my book. And they’re loud, emotional, sometimes obnoxious, and often demanding. Many times, I found myself focusing on you with an undeniably blank and stony stare. If so, it was probably the day twelve-year-old Cora materialized right before my eyes in a 1932 classroom, shouting, “We ain’t got the pox!” She caught me completely off guard. Sometimes I laughed at the most inopportune times, not because what you were saying was funny, but because feisty Cora loudly proclaimed, “I ain’t gonna spit indoors!” as if she possessed the fine manners of a debutante.
Sometimes my teary eyes hinted at an unexplained sadness. With Sooze, I watched a man die, his eyes turning a magnificent crystalline blue. Yet on another day, eerie shadows crept into my vision. Through the dry mist, I saw Sooze. She was watching her Mama and Daddy, and it seemed they stood somewhere between life and death. Maybe it was the dark before dawn, but it seemed I could almost see through them. Daddy moved in flickered steps while Mama’s cry sounded miles away. As I watched, a smoky haze formed as if a gray veil had fallen over the room. I knew I was watching something extraordinary.
During the writing of this novel, I lived and breathed in two different worlds. You existed in my real world, but Sooze, Cora, Henry and all the others were there, too. It’s just that I was the only one able to see and hear them.
For all you forgave, I am grateful.
My home is located in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas where the hawks soar and the Axis and whitetail deer still believe they own the land. It is here that I live with my husband of 35+ years and our two beautiful dogs: Libby Loo, a feisty mix of magnificence, and Red Bleu, our incredibly smart Aussie!
Shadow of the Hawk is my debut novel which is scheduled for release in February 2015. It is a YA Depression-era novel whose research has spanned a lifetime. It is now complete (and wonderful!) and has recently found a home with Astraea Press. Currently, I am working on three other novels–two MG and one New Adult.
Most recently, my story Deadlines won the 2014 Short Story Contest in SOUTHERN WRITERS MAGAZINE. Previously, Southern Writers published my article called Partners in Print and DIG Magazine, a Cobblestone publication, published my children’s article titled Let’s Raise Bison!