When all the noise has gone silent, all that is left is her song.
The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.
It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.
Pearl had lived under the impossible taskmaster of perfection. Nothing she does or ever did pleased her mother. And nothing she ever did could disappoint her father.
Caught up in the mystery of her friend’s curious—and secretive—return, Pearl wrestles with her own decisions, and flees lest her own secrets are exposed.
The words, “You’re nothing but a failure” sadly come from personal experience. It was a catalyst to untangle myself from the lies I had always believed.
All four of my main characters in this series—Mercedes, Scarlett, Pearl, and Simone—find refuge and sanctuary being outdoors, which is very much something they share with me!
I am well familiar with clinical depression, and both Scarlett (The Tilting Leaves of Autumn) and Pearl suffer from it. Their journey out of depression is written from the heart. It is a tug-of-war, darkness vs light, and it is very real. Though their particulars are different to what mine were, the agony and the struggle against it is very much what I lived.
The main crop on Saisons Plantation is tea. I hadn’t given much thought to it, but was reading a book last year with tea as the crop. I created a blend adagio.com to match the tea in the story. It’s nutty and quite strong—and quite high octane!
I “meet” my characters as I write—and take myriad notes! I’ll visualize the person, or “hear” them speaking; I feel rather like I’m transcribing my scenes as they play out in my head.
Tag to #4—I type by touch, and sometimes write a scene with my eyes closed.
I’m an actress, and this conveys really strongly my ability to be “in” the scene. (I really miss being on the stage… )
I love, love, love doing the research. I love the odd and random facts I find to make my stories more authentic. For instance, the Pinard Horn. Invented by Dr. Adolphe Pinard, it is what midwives use to hear the baby’s heart rate.
I also love history! Set in 1912 and 1913, Seasons takes place just before World War I. Most of what I found in my research dealt with specifics to the war and the years after. One of the key characters is German, and I had to dig to find what I needed for his story.
In my willy nilly approach to who’s who, I realized (thankfully early on!) that some of the ages of some of the characters didn’t line up! I create an extensive Word doc of names and ages (including birthdates) and who’s married to whom, etc. And one of the fascinating snippets is revealed in The Whispering Winds of Spring…..
“Penny for your thoughts.” Mercedes was lost in thought, pretending to inspect the ballroom for Violet’s grand tea.
She whirled around, staring blankly.
“I… was… inspecting the ballroom. For the tea.” She ran her fingers along the wainscoting for good measure. “On Wednesday.”
“Pearl.” Mimicking her, I ran my fingers along the wainscoting on the opposite of the room. “What if… what if you found out your father—or mother” —she was scaring me— “weren’t who you thought they were.”
“What did you say?” My heart pounded as loud as a brass band.
“I… I…” She seemed suddenly deflated. “Never mind.”
But I couldn’t let it go. I had to know what she meant. “What did you say, Mercedes?”
“Nothing. I…” She pulled back, pulled against my grip. “Pearl, you’re scaring me.”
I held fast to her arm and repeated my question.
“I found something…”
I thought I might faint right there on Mercedes waxed ballroom floor.
“I saw some documents…” What was she talking about? Clearly not what I thought, what I had suspected. “I was probably mistaken.”
I slipped through the gauzy drapes as evening closed in.
“Did you need something?” Mercedes’ voice followed after me like a ghost as I hurried down the steps.
About the Author
I’ve always had voices—er, stories in my head. I once said I should write them all down so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!
I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned my BFA in Interior Design. I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years. My characters face many of these same demons.
I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.