I’m a writer. I think I was born a writer, I just had to try a few things out before committing. Well, maybe more than a few. I’ve worked as a ballet teacher, a bedding plant grower, a mural painter and a jewelry maker. Those were the fun, creative jobs. Others, including stints at insurance, real estate and doctor’s offices, were not so fulfilling. But I’m writing now.
I have a few short stories and three complete novels hanging out on my hard drive, all aimed at young adults. To me, there is no more suspense-filled time in a person’s life. Lots of beginnings and ends; lots of figuring out how life works. For many it’s a time when love feels most intense and hearts are filled with turmoil, battling the brain for control. It’s a seriously passionate time.
The shelves at bookstores are filled with books with dark covers featuring handsome guys and alluring young women with overly-long canine teeth. My latest novel would lighten that color scheme and the potential blood-letting somewhat. Set in modern-day Colonial Williamsburg, it involves a young seamstress, her fellow historical re-enactors, and the ghost of a young Revolutionary War soldier. Who happens to be quite handsome. And a very good kisser.
The plot involves mistaken identity, judgment based on appearance, knowing something is a mistake and doing it anyway, and, of course, the quest for love. The characters are all people we’ve known but with a twist. Except for the ghost, who is someone we all wish we knew. A live version, anyway.
I’ve always loved history. But Colonial America didn’t grab me like the Renaissance or the succession of British kings or the American Civil War. The pilgrims were such a dour, pinch-mouthed bunch of hypocrites (even though they are my ancestors). And George Washington was rather pear-shaped for a warrior and looked like someone’s mother-in-law. The era and it’s homely ‘heroes’ distinctly lacked passion.
But then, my teenaged daughter and I travelled to Washington DC, Williamsburg and Jamestown. I fell in love at Mount Vernon. Who knew old George was such a innovator? And such an imaginative subversive? Can’t raise a certain breed of sheep to produce wool that would rival England’s finest? Let’s play geneticist and create a whole new breed! Being at his home, seeing what he’d accomplished as a farmer and a husband, took me beyond his stodgy exterior and introduced me to the lively heart and mind of the first president.
Then Williamsburg took me back in time and the starving ghosts of Jamestown tugged at my ankles and heart. My head filled with everything the history books in high school leave out, I lay on the sand at Virginia Beach and dreamed up DEAD PERFECT, my latest novel.
I never know what will trigger a story. For years, I denied the ability to come up with a compelling idea to write about. Probably because everyone was telling me I should write, you know, bossing me around. (I’m still a teenager in some ways.) But now, little things collect and collide to form possibilities. I find myself asking, “What if….” What if that cute guy was really a ghost, thought I was his long-lost girlfriend and needed help to find her so he could move on? And what if I had developed a serious crush on him and wanted him to stay? But (sorry Twilight lovers) I knew, unlike that twit Bella, I needed a life with the living friends I’d just made?
Wouldn’t you like to know?