(Photo above: Armadale Castle, Sleat, Isle of Skye, Scotland. Photo taken by Jim Hale)
I’ve written a novel. It began as a dream, which turned into an idea, which found its way into words in a short story April 14, 2006. Lady of the Glen, as it was called then, was 3,800 words short and an assignment for my second Creative Fiction class at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Dr. John McDermott was my first ever writing professor, now good friend. In the Fall of 2006, I took a Fantasy and Magic Realism class from John’s wife, Dr. Christine Butterworth-McDermott. my second ever writing professor, now good friend. By November, Lady of the Glen had grown to 5,700 words and Christine planted the seed that this could be something bigger. A novel. I’d never seriously considered writing a novel. I continued working on the story and expanding it. Spring 2007 found me in my fourth Creative Writing class with Writer-in-Residence, Joe Lansdale teaching. He continued to encourage me to pursue writing seriously and helped with the “business” end of the craft. I am forever indebted to these three amazing writers.
I decided this was a dragon worth riding. It’s been a LONG HARD ride, but well worth it. I’ve loved almost every minute of it. Apart from the dreaded query letters and synopsis. My novel now stands at 81,000 words and is titled The Stone Manor. It’s Women’s Fiction with strong elements of romance and magic realism. I think my favorite part about this novel is it’s based on a dream I had. A recurring dream that began when I was eighteen years old…of a stone manor. As I started to write this novel, I decided to search for ancestors in Scotland. I’d heard we had lots of Scots blood on both sides, and I just knew the manor of my dream was somewhere in the Highlands. I’ll never forget the day I was researching on Ancestors.com and hit the jackpot. Macdonalds from the Isle of Skye! I screamed out-loud. The plot thickened and characters were born. A trip to Skye followed. But I’ll save that for another post…another day.