In this, my first blog post on my new website going “live,” I wanted to tell you about the beginning of my crossover into the wilds of young adult fiction and fantasy, and away from historical romance. Every story has a beginning, and my dogs started this one.
When I climbed into my cupboard writing space under the stairs, to write my next novel, I fully intended to find my heroine in the history of the Gold Rush Days and the Yukon of the far North. Research always unearths my characters and I knew they hid from me, and were somewhere in my files collected, on a sticky note pasted to my writing wall, in one of the books purchased on Alaska history or checked out of the library, or maybe in one of my office stacks of old photos and pictures from frontier days gone by.
I wanted my next romantic hero and heroine to show their character, as they’d always done, when I got closer and closer to the history in which they lived. Always before, this worked. Not now. No matter how much research I’d piled up in front of me, and no matter how hard I looked for any romance there, no characters stepped forward. It was as if a curtain had been drawn and wouldn’t allow me into their story. Frustrated, I lost my concentration and my motivation. Already depressed over my beloved Siberian husky’s death, I needed to climb into a new story in my cupboard writing space, to escape the pain of Xander’s loss. He was the last in line of my beloved huskies, and he’d left me. I couldn’t fill the hole in my heart fast enough.
I meant to do it with writing. Turns out, that’s exactly what happened.
My characters had been in front of me all the time. I just didn’t know it. They’d been waiting for me to tell their story: my hero, my heroine, and my sled dogs. History revealed itself. Of course! Why hadn’t I seen it? Sled dogs were everywhere in my files and stacks of old photos collected. The frontier on both sides of the Bering Sea depended on the Siberian husky. This was the story I needed to tell. The moment I realized this, I was easily spirited away to a crossover world of mist and magic.
My Harriet Potter room under the stairs suddenly took on the appearance of a steamer headed from Seattle, across the Bering Sea to 1908 Nome, with mirrored portholes showing the way, and a map of the far North pasted overhead. My story would take me to Siberia and the arctic regions of the Alaska frontier. I was absolutely spirited here. Layers in time swirled past my mind’s eye. Ancient worlds brushed one another in story and fact, connecting the spirits of the Siberian Chukchi, the seafaring Vikings, and the Alaska pioneers, men and women alike, giving me, “A Crossover Novel of Fantasy,” indeed.
Not all spirits encountered are good spirits.