Writing a novel is a maddening, magical, and mind-bending experience. It’s a mystical journey that can take you anywhere and nowhere. It’s a journey that can go on for eons, or it can last only moments. When you’re enjoying the experience, it’s heaven; but when the characters won’t talk to you, it can be hell.
My novel began 25 years ago (yep, you read that right–I started this journey 25 years ago), while involved in some meditation classes and past life review sessions. As stated in my book Escorting the Dead: My Life as a Psychopomp (gotta get those plugs in), I have a knack for being able to read other people’s past lives from their auras; however, I could never easily read my own. But as I learned different types of meditations, I was able to bring out details of some of my own past lives.
I recorded the details and followed the path of the stories that I found. The paths led me to other people that I knew, but who had also been part of my “pasts”. So, from reading their auras I got more details and, many times, a totally different perspective on the incidents. I scribbled snippets of dialogue, I dashed out descriptions of scenes and character interactions, and I began to formulate an idea for a story to weave all these disparate bits and pieces of past life memories together.
In my naivete, I thought I might be the next Taylor Caldwell. While growing up, I had read nearly every book she ever wrote; her stories were brilliant and had felt so authentic. She knew so many details about each of the time periods she wrote about. Yet, when asked about the amount of research that she must have done to imbue each of her stories with so much realism, she denied it. She said that she just knew what was right for each story because she could see it in her mind’s eye. She claimed that most of her research was in regard to the events of the period and the placing of those events in the proper sequence.
She was a brilliant writer, and very clever. So, it seemed less than surprising to learn (years later) that her historical fictions were a combination of her past life memories and her ability to write a story. But, as I would learn, it takes more than being able to “read” auras and discern past life memories to create a story, let alone a novel. There’s a fair bit of story telling ability needed, too. Oh, and let us not forget the ability to write…a small matter that so many of today’s wanna-be-authors seem to feel is unimportant. And while I admit that spelling and grammar can be a bloody pain in the keester, they do make it so much easier on the reader.
Recognizing that I had a lot more work to do wasn’t easy. I’m not always a very patient person. All I saw was that I had the makings of some great stories; great stories that I truly felt others needed to see and share, too. However, 25 years ago was long before the age of the blog or other social media outlets. In fact, PCs were not something that everyone had, and the internet and email were barely out of their infancy. So, unless I could pull my stories into some cohesive book or collection of short stories, no one was going to see them except me (oh, and probably my hubby). And so began the greatest adventure of my life…learning to be a writer, an author, and a novelist.