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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Monday, January 9, 2012


As usual I'm writing a blog instead of working on my 'other' writing. My characters are lying on chaise-longues, puffing languidly on cigarettes--"When do you plan to get to us, dahlin'?" one of them asks--Be right there...

Right. I have two-hundred pages written on a fictionalized version of my parents' story--starting with their marriage in 1938...my father was a POW in a Japanese internment camp for three and a half years. And I have his journals. Mostly they are an accounting of food items the prisoners received from the Red Cross, as well as daily musings about what was going on (many seriously horrific)--all in the form of love letters to my mother...Since he never spoke of ANY of this (I was born after the war, my brother before), and my mother died when I was thirteen, I've had to make up the story of her life  to go along with the letters...

Turning my parents into characters in a book has been a very interesting endeavor...Juxtaposing his journal entries with the little bits I know about my mother's life during the same time is the structure I've chosen. I shudder to think what my brother might say if and when this ever gets turned into a real book--My father told me many, (inappropriate for a young girl's ears,) details about his marriage after my mother's death. She had taken up with another man while he was gone--I'm not surprised considering she was 22 when they married and he was away longer than they were together...And I still don't know if she received letters from him--if so they aren't in my bulging file folders...But it was the memory of my mother that kept the man alive and able to cope with the horrors he went through. She was every heroine of every book he had ever read...can't imagine how hard it would be to live up to the pedestal he placed her on.

It took me two weeks to read his journals and I cried every single day. And of course he was not the same man when he came home. In his journals he planned to give up his army career, instead he said he wanted to dedicate himself to my mother and raising animals and growing things...If, of course, he made it out alive...

What happened was of course very different. She wanted a divorce but they didn't get one. And then I was born. They did buy a farm and raised animals but my father also continued with his army career, full tilt boogie--it was who he was.

And so I struggle with honoring their memory as well as being honest with what I know...and...making an exciting readable story out of it all...'good luck' you say sarcastically? Wolf Moon Trilogy came out of my procrastination with this story--I started to do a little fantasy fun writing to break up the emotional exhaustion...hmmm...is there a lesson here?


  1. I don't know if it's a lesson, but I do believe most things work out as they should.

  2. That's interesting ... your parents as characters, eh? But I suppose, it does have more of a significance to the writer (you) and the more emotion that you put into it, the more emotion the reader gets from it.

    But it is a very interesting idea, I know I've toyed around with the idea of writing a fictionalised account/story about my grandparent's escapades during WW2 - all their old stories, I think it would make a rather interesting book ... ;)

    As for a lesson ... not sure about that, but good luck anyway :)

  3. Wow, that's an incredible "story" you have at your fingertips. Don't delay - put yourself back at your desk. Write it! Pull off the procrastination (I've been there) and know whoever you "create" will have such depth because they are born of your family's actual history.

  4. Thanks, Tracy! Editing what I've got first and then finish the dang thing! (although can't figure out where to end it)