Thursday, September 18, 2014
Thanks to the gracious M.P. Cooley for inviting me. We both come from upstate New York, the setting for her gripping mystery, Ice Shear, now available from William Morrow/Harpercollins, here: Amazon .You can learn more about her lone wolf heroine June Lyons, here: M.P. Cooley.com
Finn Sullivan, from my dark fantasy Thorn Jack, is seventeen and about to enter college. She has recently lost her beautiful, wild older sister to suicide and is sleepwalking through her life in San Francisco. When her father, a professor of mythology, moves them to his hometown of Fair Hollow, New York, Finn meets the mysterious Jack Fata and his strange, dangerous family.
Finn was named Serafina by her mother, after 'seraphim', which means angels of fire, with Finn as an abbreviated version because her father wanted to name her after a mythical hero, Finn mac Cool. Finn has experienced major losses early in life; her mother died when she was ten and her father inherited the Fair Hollow house of a recently deceased grandmother she scarcely knew. It is a resentment toward death that drives Finn to try and save a young man from being murdered by a tribe of nomadic creatures so that they might remain immortal.
Finn Sullivan was inspired by Alice (of Wonderland fame), by Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, and Nancy Drew. She doesn't literally kick ass, but she does learn how to outwit the villians and to maneuver through the supernatural world infringing on her own. She is a quiet, wry braveheart, reckless and fiercely loyal.
You can visit another Faerie world in The Stolen: An American Faerie Tale, by Bishop O'Connell, who is a consultant, writer, poet, blogger and member of the New Hampshire Writers' Project. Born in Naples, Italy, while his father was stationed in Sardinia, Bishop grew up in San Diego, California, where he fell in love with the ocean and fish tacos. While wandering the country for work and school, he experienced autumn in New England. Soon after, he settled in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he collects swords and kilts. But he only dons one of those two in public. He can be found online at A Quiet Pint.com where he muses philosophical on the various aspects of writing and the road to getting published.
Jack Heckel aspires to be either a witty, urbane world-traveler who lives on his vintage yacht, The Clever Double Entendre, or a geographically illiterate professor of literature who spends his non-writing time restoring an 18th Century lighthouse off a remote part of the Vermont coastline. Whatever you want to
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
I remember discovering the public library in Albany, NY. It was located amid the shabby splendor of Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood, in a 3-story Victorian-type house, where the wooden floors creaked and the air smelled like books. The children's room was on the second floor, in one of the towers. I remember bringing ten books to the desk to check out the first time and thinking they wouldn't let me borrow them all.
My first obsession was Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie. These books were exciting adventures based on a real life. I soon owned all of them.
Next came the Bobbsey Twins, the adventures of a bunch of well-to-do kids named Nan, Bert, Freddie, and Flossie.
After that, I discovered Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. I read the first few mysteries and ended up getting them all through the years. I loved how Nancy and her friends just plunged into danger.
Then there was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, which I pulled off the shelf and opened to the illustration of the witch about to stab poor Aslan on the altar. I put it back on the shelf because it looked too disturbing. I read it a year later and the wardrobe in our house became the source of much speculation.
A fascination with England, my mom's birthplace, led to Paddington Bear by Michael Bond. Paddington seemed a bit more sophisticated than Winnie-the-Pooh and led to my love of orange marmalade.
Next was Edith Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle and The Magic City, more books in which English children dealt with magic.
I found The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett at the library and read it in one night. I bought that and A Little Princess at a school book fair a few months later.
I didn't read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland until I found a pretty, illustrated version of it in the library. The same with Peter Pan. I thought Alice was hilarious and Peter Pan made me afraid to leave my window open.
I wish I could remember the other books I fell in love with during those years of discovery. There was the one about the ballerina, set in the 1940s, and another about a girl befriending the weirdest person in her school. There were books on mythology and fairy tales, science fiction, and biographies.
I miss that magical round room in a tower, where I discovered new worlds.