|An early cover, with my preferred spelling of the title|
This is the first of my origin stories, in which I explore what inspired me to write each of my stories.
I should begin by mentioning that I don’t do market research. I haven’t read the 100 best selling books in my genre(s) to get a feel for what those readers expect. I haven’t studied their blurbs, nor have I modeled my covers after the best selling books in my genre. I also haven’t sold tens of thousands of books or make much money either, so take my method for what it’s worth.
All of my stories were inspired by self-imposed challenges, memories, or books I’ve read and enjoyed. I’ll talk about each of them in the order that they were written.
Some Day Days
Original working title: Yours, (someday, maybe)
My preferred title spelling would be "Someday Days", but "someday" is not universally considered a word, especially in Britain where the story takes place, hence some days.
Kiss of the White Witch, is the opening “piece” in my “fix-up” novel, Some Day Days, A Romance in an Undetermined Number of Pieces. It was the first story that I wrote that I eventually took all the way to publishing it. I have files dating back to 2009, with the working title of Tea and the White Witch. I wrote Kiss of the White Witch as a short story – or as short as I can write a story. It originally ran a bit under 10K works, so that it is really a novelette, though once it became part of the a much longer story, I fleshed it out even more. My attitude is that if a reader is in a hurry to get through my books, they probably should just move along.
It come to be written as a result of two challenges. The first was some sort of challenge to write a flash fiction story about a piece of technology and how it impacted the future. I don’t recall where I came across this challenge. In any event, the piece of technology I chose was something that was in its infancy (and still is) – a device that takes a video of what a person is seeing. Think of Google Glasses or those Snapchat sunglasses which have cameras that record a few minutes or seconds at a time. I took that ideas to the point were one’s entire day could be recorded on such a device. I called them “dynamic diaries”, or dyaries for short. And in the story, I briefly explored what implications such a device might have, if widely adopted, and used a romantic plot to do so.
My second challenge was self-imposed. I wanted to write the story using as much dialog as possible. I wanted the characters to tell their stories in their conversation. At the time I had read some stories written by a friend of my wife, which I felt could be told more engagingly and more interestingly by the people within the story. Most of us live our lives in first person singular, and to me that seems the natural way to tell a story. Life at ground level.
|Another cover idea.|
As it turned out, I fell in love with the lives of my characters, and so I continued to daydream about them and their friends, piece, by piece, scene by scene, over the course of many months. I began to set down more of their story, though my imagination raced far ahead of the written words.
However, by the time I got serious about publishing the story, several years later, many of those scenes had faded in my memory and had acquired that “been there, done that,” feel to them… And well, I didn’t have the energy to write the whole saga as I had imagined it, and doubted that there was a vast market for a Gone With The Wind sized romance novel. I had, however, written down the beginnings of Hugh and Selina’s romance and still had in mind enough of their story that I could write Some Day Days as the first story arc in their saga. And having spent a great deal of time on those stories, and, as I said, grown very fond of those characters, I decided that they deserved the light of day and so I published what I had written, even if it wasn't the complete story I had to tell.
I always considered Some Day Days as an experimental piece. In my early drafts I tried writing it as if it was a jazz piece played by Thelonious Monk, though, in the end, I did end up smoothing out my writing over the course of many revisions. I have always considered it a romance. However, I gather that these days, a true romance must have an “and they lived happily ever after” ending, which the story does have – only a couple of hundred thousand unwritten words later on. Oh, well. I did sneak that happily ever after ending into A Summer in Amber, which is set in the same time line, decades later.
And that is the origin story of Some Day Days. It began as an exploration of what recording our daily lives might mean, turned into an experimental romance, and ended up, just part one of a sprawling, unwritten, and now mostly forgotten story.
It is my least popular book, but I am actually rather proud of it. (Though, like all my work, I dread re-reading it, yet again, to be certain of that.) Popularity is not the yardstick I use to measure the success and failures in any of my creative endeavors. Thank goodness. I’d be a pretty sad fellow if it was.
|First print version (with original title spelling)|
The cover scene is inspired by a narrow street in Oxford, England, perhaps Rose Lane, or Brewer Street, or some similar little street.
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