Writing: The Passion of Your Novel

I recently finished a biography on Emily Dickinson.  These words she wrote to Thomas Wentworth Higginson resignated with me: “I was thinking, today-as I noticed, that the ‘Supernatural’, was only the Natural, disclosed-”

I’ve probed  the hidden my entire life.   I can’t remember a time I wasn’t studying the occult.  I remember being nine years-old and taking out books on psychic phenomena, Edgar Cayce, reincarnation, and so forth along with my trusty Nancy Drews – and wondering why the librarian was looking at me odd.

Another love of mine has always been the Victorian era.  The Victorians were fascinated both by the world around them (evident in all the inventions of that century) and in the nature of man.  Forget the the images of  distant, cold persons so prudish that table legs had to be covered.   Heightened social awareness  propelled Abolition,  the Suffrage Movement, education and work reform.  New ideas sprang everywhere: Transcendentalism, Egyptology, Spiritualism,  Theosophy, the Golden Dawn, Unitarianism.  Health movements such as homeopathy, mesmerism, vegetarianism, hydrotherapy.

It is amusing to think many now look upon those times as “genteel”- when the Victorians feared their lives had become too fast paced due to the railroad and telegram.   In the 19th century- the “Newness”- was all around.

With my great passion  for the so-called supernatural and 19th c. history-  it feels a natural progression that my writing should be fueled with these elements.

What are the passions that drive your novel?

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Favorite Children’s Books

Here are my top 10 favorite books from childhood.  They’re not presented in order- just how they came to me.

A big thank you to all the wonderful authors who filled my hours with wonder.

1. Bunnicula– by James Howe :  Harold the dog narrates with wry humor his life with the Monroes.  His best friend is Chester, the cat. (named after G. K. Chesterton).  Chester loves to read.  Harold loves books.  One day their owners bring home an abandoned bunny they found at the movie theater.  The film they’d been watching just happened to be…Dracula! Detective-in-the-making Chester is certain the cute little bunny is really a vampire.  He does sleep all day…

and Howliday Inn- by James Howe :  In this fantastic sequal, Harold and Chester are banished to horror-of-all-horrors…an animal kennel while the Monroes go on vacation.  Flirtatious French poodles, love triangles, and animals that go missing during the night…

note: yes, I know that’s two books.   It’s my own blog.  I’ll cheat if I want to.

2.  The Secret Garden- by Frances Hodgson Burnett:  After the death of her parents, Mary goes to live with her uncle in a mysterious manor on the Yorkshire Moors.

3.  Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield: Paulina, Petrova, and Posy are adopted by an eccentric rich older man who leaves them under the care of his servants.  Paulina dreams of being an actress, Posy lives to dance, and Petrova just wants to fix cars and learn how to fly…

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Tomboyish, would-be-writer Jo (inspiration for many female authors to this day),  smart Meg, sweet Beth, artistic Amy.   Four sisters growing up during the Civil War with their mother.

5.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis : Lucy discovers a magical closet in her uncle’s home that leads into the world of Narnia.  I’ll admit it.  As a kid,  I tried this.  I really did.  Never did find the correct closet.  Darn it!

6.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl : Charlie Bucket is one of five lucky children who win the chance to visit Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory.  Filled with bizarre characters,  delicious sweets, tons of humor, and a dab of sentiment- no film adaption has ever captured the heart of this novel.

7.  The Nancy Drew Mystery Series by Carolyn Keene: before I embarked on Agatha Christie- the titian haired sleuth kicked off my love of mysteries

8. The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder :Her true-life account of growing up on the Western prarie during the 19th century.

9.  Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren :  I wanted to be Pippi.  Enough said.

10.  I wanted to put Judy Blume here, but decided she will go in my “Favorite Young Adult Books” Post.  So, that leaves me room for one more book.   Charlotte’s Web?  Wind in the Willows?

Nope.  As wonderful as those are, it just came to me:  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  A young boy and his two coonhound pups.  (SOB!)

What were your favorite books as a child?