News from Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fiction: How To Start A Novel

If you write, every conversation, every observed happening, every glimpse of an interesting person, or every snippet of dialogue herd on TV, is fodder for a novel.
When I began my last novel, Love Lost in Time, the location came first because I had childhood memories of vacations at the seashore, and when I’m writing, I’m there, in that place. Okay. Who is there?
Thirty-something woman whose life has been shattered and she must find her place in a new life. She rents a beach house in a small seaside, tourist town to think. I know something about this. I’m on my fourth major change. Sara decides she is not going to repeat as perfect wife and mother, simply occupying space. A quote from the book:
“The mildly judgmental way Clover looked at her, suggested she was being compared to the Toy Group at a dog show—amusing but without meaningful purpose.”
Okay. I’ve got my theme. Now for the fun part. She’s going to fall in love with the ghost renting the house, who died in the 1860s. Some of you remember, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir?” One of my favorite movies.
My books have to be about something new to me, because I thrive on research. In this instance, I settled on the 19th Century whaling industry. My ghost was a whaling ship captain. By now my imagination was at a full gallop.  I’m an American History junkie, especially the Civil War. Here’s my chance to learn about whaling. I read Moby Dick. Ismael suggested the character of the husband who deserted Sara to find adventure. I read Whalers, the Time-Life Book about early whaling and learned to love whales. I discovered a little-known event in the Civil War called, “The Stone Fleet,” and used it as a mystery Sara has to solve when she is sent to 1860 New Kensington. Time travel research got me into wormholes and vortexes and I sent Sara to a meeting of the local Metaphysical Society to learn about parallel universes. I added a local insurance fraud that Sara discovers that puts her life in danger, and a mystery of the origin of some of the local residents, who look a lot like people she met in 1860.
By now I’m totally engaged and having the time of my life writing this book. I haven’t forgotten the romance, which like everything else, has a surprising twist, and, of course, since it is the New Jersey shore, we have to have a hurricane.
Go to and read the first ten pages of the book and the synopsis. Of course, I hope you buy it and let me know what you think by writing a review on Amazon. Or you can e-mail me at, or even visit my website to see what other romances I’ve written.

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