Sunday, October 7, 2012
Why Coyote Winds? Why this story?
I was working on a totally different book when the idea for COYOTE WINDS came to me--a story of a boy taming a wild coyote with a parallel story of his grandson’s wish he could have been part of the adventure.
It was just a few months after my father had died, and I was sorting through his writings, trying to put together a collection to share with the family. In his later years my father wrote hundreds of poems; some of them corny jokes (my father truly loved the pun) and some heartbreaking portraits of loss and loneliness. Sorting through it all was a painful process; so painful, the project is still unfinished.
Among my father’s writings was a long piece about growing up during the Dust Bowl. I wanted to find a way to use my father’s memoir. The coyote idea came to me while riding in the car, and it seemed a compelling approach.
At first I wanted COYOTE WINDS to be a simple adventure novel. My father’s memoir was different from anything I had read about the Dust Bowl. He had been quite happy to have the schools closed. He spent his days hunting rabbits and digging up arrowheads. Other than going to church on Sunday, he had a shoeless, fenceless boyhood. Something more 19th Century than 20th Century. I couldn’t help but contrast that with the life of a modern suburban boy. But as I research the time I discovered a much bigger story. More about that in future posts.
Friday, October 5, 2012
My novel, COYOTE WINDS, will be launched in a few months
I am very excited for my characters.
Any novelist will tell you that after coddling, cajoling and prodding characters through a novel, you fall in love with them, even your villains. But until you have readers, the characters are two dimensional squiggles on a page. Only when other people read the story, care about the characters, really laugh with and cry about them, do your characters become something more than what you created. They move into the world and affect other people. They are like your grown children. You helped to shape them, but they go on to live lives of their own and make an impact on the world without you.
Howard is now reading through the final version of the manuscript. He hasn’t read the entire manuscript in a while so he's seeing a lot of new material. About halfway through the book, he wanted to know what happens to Ro, Myles, and Lionel. He was almost tearful. I tried to appear sympathetic, but honestly, I was giddy. You see, Howard is a former attorney and philosophy professor with a fondness for sarcasm and cynicism. If he was moved by my characters, then I succeeded.
So go on out there, Myles, Ro, Andy, Clare, Lionel, Shirley, Herbert and Tommy. Go find your way in the world.