Friday, October 16, 2009

Setting Amelia Free at Last

This book has been three years in the making. It's about loss and love and friendship and being oh so young. When I started it, back in the fall of 2006, I thought it would be about Amelia Earhart and these two college freshmen who were just starting off . . . I wasn't sure where it would be set or what would happen in it. Just that idea. Then the story morphed, suddenly I was wondering how to stick Amelia into a book set in 1980-81 (not coincidentally when I attended Columbia Graduate School and lived on the Upper West Side). I did some research and discovered her sister was alive and then I did more research, got her sister's book, and suddenly another character appeared, Amelia's real life sister, Muriel. I spent so much time worrying how to write about someone who was real, but not famous. I felt I would hurt her, or that her family would come after me for it, but that of course presumes a lot, first and foremost that this novel is published. I know how hard it is to be published, after all in my former incarnation it took me years to sell my first novel. So that was one presumption, the other was that they would care. The fact is, she wrote her own book about her sister, and it was interesting to me, as much for what it left out as for what it described. I started thinking about sisters and best friends and how the two relationships connect. And then out of nowhere this middle aged mother from the midwest appeared in my narrative. Year one . . .
From that first draft, so many years ago, a new book emerged. One where Amelia comes to life in 1980 . . . it's become a novel that's so deeply personal, a novel about loss and missed opportunities. This blog is going to be about the process of writing, about editing and changing and transforming and selling. Acceptance and rejection. . . so out it goes to my agent.

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