It is a curious experience to be in the simultaneous process of launching a book and beginning work on a second project. This time I trust that the characters will guide me through their stories.
It is a different stance than the one I took with Autumn’s Grace. During that first encounter with writing fiction, I remember looking at the computer one morning and saying out loud, “No! You cannot speak!”. It was the character Jessie who provoked the outburst. As a narrator, I was having difficulty expressing Jessie’s challenge of being a health care professional who felt powerless in the care of her father. In time, Jessie did get to speak, as did the other characters, but not until I had taken a year off from writing to re-read my favourite authors who knew their way around dialogue. Learning to let my characters tell their stories was a way of releasing ownership and unleashing creativity. The characters had insights that surprised me. Some made me laugh out loud; a few made me angry; others made me cry. What was striking was that they were observations that I would never have had without the writing experience.
This time I am telling a story through the eyes of four women who range between 74 and 80 years of age. They are widowed/divorced, fit, observant, irreverent, and adventurous. I am just getting to know them, and look forward to working with them each day. The working title is The Memory Boxes.