Here’s the latest on some projects that I’m working on this year.
My NaNoWriMo project has a complete draft and new title
Although I “won” NaNoWrimo back in November by finishing the first 50,000 words of my new novel, I had more work to do before I could call the draft complete.
Part of that work was to give the novel a new title. The painting my character creates became an important part of the story, so I changed the title to Christina’s Portrait. It fits the theme of the story as characters in 1977 and 2021 try to understand the tragic character at the center. As I developed that character, she became far different from Mary Ann Henderson, who is the inspiration for the story. It was the right choice to make for several reasons.
First, I didn’t want to write about one specific tragedy, but how different tragedies affect those left behind. I have characters who suffered through other horrific losses. One lost her mother to COVID-19. Another lost his father in a mass shooting. The question is how can they move forward and build a life around loss.
On the subject of COVID-19, I was saddened that a heartbreaking prediction in my draft came true. When I started the draft in November, I had a placeholder estimate of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by the time the pandemic abated. We have exceeded that tragic number. I shudder to think what number I might have to change it to by the time the story takes place. I hope that my other prediction—that life returns to some form of normalcy by October—comes true.
Second, I came to realize that Mary Ann’s story wasn’t mine to tell, and I didn’t have the tools to do it properly. True crime requires special skills that include a knowledge of law enforcement and criminal justice procedures, an ability to interview that elicits facts and insights from those unwilling to share them, and a willingness to face disturbing facts about human nature and behavior. But I can tell a story about people dealing with challenges, examine the past with the insights I have today, and provide messages I hope will inspire people.
I will be sending my draft to select beta readers soon.
Read advance praise for The Remainders
Have you seen the updated The Remainders page? It now features advance praise from several readers. Look for The Remainders coming from Black Rose Writing on September 2, 2021. Stay tuned to my website for updates.
Where you can see me next
We still have a way to go until October or whenever it is safe enough to gather in public events. (Pro tip: Keep wearing those masks, washing your hands, and staying 6 feet/2 meters apart. We’re not out of the woods yet, folks.) In the meantime, you can see me at several virtual events.
To find out more about other upcoming events, please keep visiting my website. Use the “Subscribe to my Web Site by Email” box on my site to get notifications about new content.