I’ve been making up stories inside my head since I was old enough to know the definition of imagination. As a child, most of them focuses on me getting a pony (which never came), or travelling the world (which did). Of course there was still a Prince Charming, being one of the early crowd to be swayed by Disney princesses and their own tales of love; sometimes there were nameless terrors chasing me through demon filled streets into closets where my worst nightmares were waiting to strip the flesh off my bones and devour my soul. Hey, it was hard growing up in the 60s and 70s.
Once I began a teenager, making up stories gave way to a serious reading project. My mother was a librarian, and I decided to make good use of her job and set up a goal to read every book at that time to be considered a ‘classic’. From “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” to “Zorro” I set an ambition program of two books a month. It was, interesting, and a task I wouldn’t undo for the world. Some books were real stinkers, which of course just proves how subjective the term ‘classic’ really is. Others I have re-read over and over throughout the years, until many copies sit on my shelf dog-eared and worn. Some I never made it past the first chapter.
While my own personal reading tastes prefer Fantasy and/or Science Fiction, there are books in most genre which captured my imagination even to this day. True I write Romance and Fantasy but Mystery, Action, even Westerns influence my character and locations because I am the sum of every word I’ve read since my mother first handed me ‘Go Dog, Go!” as a child. All writers are amalgams of their readying history. We have to be. Most novels are fairly simple if reduced down to their simplest elements: love, greed, money, revenge, power. The five basic food groups for writers. Your plot will certainly be driven by a least one of these, some books have more.
Sometimes what we take away isn’t what we loved but what we hated. What, you may ask, is my own personal pet peeve garnered from a lifetime of reading? Unnecessary dialog. Dialog removes you from the scene, substitutes words for your own imagination, and I love my imagination.
In my most recently book, “The Price for Redemption”, it is by using her imagination Vivienne discovers not only the limits of her inner magic (not many!), as well as her betrayer. Without the ability to think at the outer limits of our minds, think of all the books that probably wouldn’t have been written, including one of my own personal favorites: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams!
We are the sum of all our experiences, so go grab life with both hands and make more!
In order to save the Five Kingdoms, Vivienne must fight to against her worst enemies, including herself.
The pneumonia returned with a vengeance after my trip into the past of the Five Kingdoms. February faded into March and chills rattled my bones while I wandered through fever-induced dreams. Some were happy dreams with Devon still by my side protecting me; others were nightmares where in the darkness enemies assailed me from all sides, unseen but very dangerous. Eventually I realized they were only dreams, and tears began leaking through my closed eyelids. Though I could think of no valid reason to do so, I woke up. It had been three weeks since the day I stumbled through the snow and internal despair alone back to Pitaq bearing my grandfather’s murdered corpse and news of my husband and protector, now captured by our shared enemies.
Someone undressed me, replaced my frozen, blood soaked garments with soft and silky pajamas. I struggled to move, and discovered thick blankets piled upon the bed to keep my icy body warm. The mountain of wool was beginning to cause profuse sweating. Gone was the complete numbness of body and gone was the knife in my lungs which stabbed with every breath, but my soul was still crushed under the weight of a cold heart. I stayed in bed contemplating the bitter truth of my failure: I hadn’t stopped Sauk. I knew of no good reason why my heart should still beat.
Frantic with the constraint of too many layers I threw the heavy blankets aside. I managed to get one leg free and slid out from under the rest, down the side and on to the floor. Slumped with my back against the bed, sitting on the woolen rug, I was again overwhelmed by what had happened in the mists and horrors of the distant past. I missed Devon so much; the pain inside my chest was fierce, a heart stopped in mid beat, never to know warmth again. Sobs choked my throat, but I had no more tears left.
The death of my grandfather who I had, in truth, only known a very short time, and the capture of Devon left me alone again with no family. I failed to save the last two people in my life that loved me and unless I could find the strength to get off the floor I would also lose the Books, the Five Kingdoms and the rest of the earth. Leaning my head back, the hard truth smacked me—there was no one to guide me, no fixed direction to follow and I had no desire for this fight. All I wanted was Devon back, and I would go to any extreme to accomplish that end. However, after so much time wasted in illness, I had no idea where to begin. I needed information.
Wallowing in my grief-clouded haze I grew aware I was not alone. First there was breathing, and then I saw Theirran’s boots in the chair by the fireplace. He did not move. He didn’t fidget. He was just sitting, waiting for me to notice him. Though every fiber in my body protested the very idea of positive forward motion, I stood, testing to make sure the feeling had returned to my feet. Once I was sure they would support my weight, I leaned against the bed staring at the floor, not at him. My head pounded from fire and stress and loss.
“What are you doing here Theirran?” My voice was low but sounded loud and unnatural in my fevered ears.