In my first year at UBC in Vancouver, I sketched out a chapter of the book. (It's the scene where Nikaia's mother gives her a lesson in persevering over adversity, by dragging her into the waters of the Fraser River, and... well, you'll have to read Chapter 1 of Stone and Silt to get the picture.)
Over the years, when a creative mood would hit me, I'd pull out that chapter, written longhand on foolscap. I'd re-write it. And re-write it again. For a long time, I never advanced beyond that scene. It just stayed with me as a simple, touching moment between a mother and daughter.
I dreamed of expanding the scene into a novel, but it was daunting to think of creating a 60,000-word story. Then, this past fall, four things coalesced that made me get serious about it:
- The author community I'd come to know on KBoards.com, the Kindle user forum I started several years ago. The authors there represent every level of the craft, from neophyte writers like me, to NYT best-selling authors with multiple successful books - and I've found good advice and encouragement from many of them.
- My cancer diagnosis of a year ago. Writing has been a good creative outlet for me in between the rounds of chemotherapy.
- Many scenes in the book are inspired by my three daughters, who are interesting, caring, thoughtful, imaginative, and joyful.
- My girls have developed a passion for reading. And that has made me enthralled with the notion of writing a story they might enjoy.
The whole writing process has been a joy, and has resurrected for me many vivid memories of growing up in British Columbia. The novel is my homage, my love letter, to the people of the Fraser Canyon, past and present.
Stone and Silt is scheduled for release in Fall 2013.