Sometimes we’re not sure what influences us or why but we’re like sponges.
Many years ago something happened that changed my thinking and without knowing why I found those messages seeping into my work.
Colourblind was my second novel but my first really serious attempt and where my dream and my belief really started. While I now realise it needs to rewritten as the writer I now am, it’s where the roots were laid down for an interesting, perhaps even extraordinary, African-American character. Her name is Molly and you will meet her one day. Molly taught me how to write Lydia in While No One Was Watching. Everything we write is part of learning who we are and what kind of writer we will later become. When I discovered Molly Tucker I had much to learn and she taught me well. Her fate was sadly sealed on the opening page when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour but she had to help husband George before her time was up. He had to face his demons; the things he had never even told her, but her tumour had now changed her perception of everything.
I never realised just what a journey she or Lydia would take me on. Or why this British white girl felt such a connection to African-American history but I did… and I still do.
I may have told this story so forgive my indulgence. Something very magical happened when I wrote Colourblind. The prologue set some years after the main events of the story told of a special place with roses and a waterfall I had seen many times in my head and I knew it had special significance. I just didn’t know what. Or even if it was real.
Several reworks later I finally had to write the epilogue which takes us back to this place. I even knew the building although I am quite certain I didn’t know it as a real place. I searched. I Googled. Something told me to keep looking because it was important. And there were all kinds of odd things happened when writing that novel that later had great significance to that place; but I swear I didn’t know it at the time. Characters would walk in and children in the story would say things or find things and I had no idea why. Only now I do. I guess it was writing that book where I learned how writing can be truly magical. TRULY.
A wrong click and I was suddenly staring at a photograph of this place; exactly where it had to be, physically. But it’s not just that. It is the name and I can’t say it or it will break the magic. But trust me, it was so significant it plucked my skin into goosebumps and I called my best friend with the promise one day we’ll go there when that book is finally published. I know it will be; odd to say but I know it. And we will launch at that place, I swear.
I think someone very special was playing a hand. And today we remember him. we have never been alive in the same life time, much like Kennedy, although oddly I think I was probably being conceived about the time he met an assassin’s bullet. Odd thought right, don’t ask me how I worked that out or why it even occurred to me. Maybe that means something, maybe it doesn’t. But today we remember.
Happy Martin Luther King Day.
If you dare to dream…
you can change the face of history.