I never thought I'd write a novel. When I first started writing, I wrote articles, almost exclusively. Their length and content felt approachable -- still does -- and provided a great starting point. Gradually, I moved in the direction of books for counselors and educators, an area that was, for obvious reasons, within my comfort zone. My first book, Acting Assertively, arose out of lessons I was teaching to my fourth and fifth grade students.
Then, as I was taking my second course with the Institute of Children's Literature, I decided to try my hand at short fiction, in the form of vignettes. I wrote what I knew -- stories about kids in families -- and, along the way, decided to keep writing these stories with an eye toward creating a collection of stories that could be used as bibliotherapy with children of divorce.
But two of these stories never made it into the book. My editor and I agreed to disagree about language (dialect) and content and the book moved forward without those two stories.
One of them became my first novel, a middle grade book that's still in a box somewhere in my office, having never found a publisher. I still hope to get back to it some day but, along the way, I wondered what would happen if the mother in the story had a story of her own.
And Marita Mercer, one of the protagonists in Casting the First Stone was born.
While a little piece of that other character resides somewhere inside Marita, Marita has diverged from her origin and, over the course of three novels, become her own person, so to speak. I often forget that she was inspired by someone else entirely -- another character in another story with an entirely different life.
|Amber Avalona via Pixabay|
It's been quite an interesting journey over the past 26 years or so and I can't wait to see who I meet as I continue moving forward. I have a few characters with completed stories waiting in the wings, and a few who are just learning their lines.
I hope you'll join me for their debuts.