Publishing,  Writing life

Before and After: Origins of a Novel

Left: Pages from a hastily drafted short story, written at the Clarion West Writers Workshop for a Very Famous Author. A lot of sweat and panic went into that draft, and it wasn’t my best work, but I finished something, which I took as a triumph and better than Plan B (pack my bags and run away in the night, slinking back home never to write again). I called it “Magpie’s Dragon”; it was about a woman who hoards magical objects and the young girl who discovers her secret.

Right: That little story seed stuck with me. I wanted to explore more deeply human relationships with objects, and how we imbue them with power through our emotions and memories. A few years and many drafts later, that seed grew into THE MEMORY COLLECTORS, a real live novel, a physical object that I can now hold in my hands. The pages pictured show the only scene that remains from the novel’s origins, but I owe a debt to the workshop, my teachers, and my classmates for creating a rich environment in which this writer and her story could develop and flourish.


  • Laura Reading

    I am so happy that seed of an idea stayed with you and germinated.
    I just finished reading an advanced copy of the novel and I can’t wait to share it with family and friends. Beautiful work.
    Although, yesterday at a thrift store I had to stop apologizing to stuffed animals I left behind and remind myself that they do NOT have feelings of rejection.

    I look forward to reading your blog posts up to the publication date.
    THANK YOU for sharing.

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