Novel in Progress
I stopped writing for a couple of years because—as an under-published author—I knew I'd never achieve success. Success—finding an agent who'd sell my book to a legit commercial publisher would be difficult (OK, impossible) because I've self-published, vanity-published, and small press-published, all of which resulted in mediocre sales.
But I'm working on a novel again. I'll self-publish through CreateSpace, which at least won't cost me anything even if it isn't a legit publishing credit.
Since 2007, I've had 20,000 words of what was supposed to be a YA novel taking up space on my hard drive. Originally the story was called What the Dog Told Me, and was about a rural teenaged girl in 1972 whose ability to communicate with animals sets her apart from others but helps her solve a crime. I submitted the first few pages to a panel at a writing conference in 2008 and was told YA readers don't care about the early 70s and my characters were stereotypes. I abandoned the project.
A few years ago, I started working on the idea again. This time titled If Only We Listen, the novel was about an animal communicator whose mystery-solving experience in the 70s echoed what she was doing now. It was a disaster because the first chapter pretty much gave away what had happened in the 70s. So I abandoned it again.
But a few things happened in the last year or so that made me give the doomed novel another try. I became interested in genealogy and learned a lot about my family's migration through Virginia—some stayed in one place, but others moved on. A DNA test revealed that I was a lot more Irish than I'd thought. And, thanks to the Internet and a Facebook genealogy group, I found out a lot about the mysterious death of my great-aunt in 1911. A cousin said I should make that aunt's story into a book. While it wasn't enough for a book, it was good for several scenes in a book, though. And the plot of my abandoned novel took on some new dimensions.
Them That Go, told from the viewpoint of a seventeen-year-old girl with a special gift, is an Appalachian novel about a secret revealed, a mystery solved, and a life forever changed. I'm within a thousand words or so of having it finished. Maybe.
To get the feel of the setting, I immersed myself in Appalachian culture. I'd enjoyed reading Janice Holt Giles's books back in the 80s and revisited them. Two of the books below were about her moving to a ridge in Kentucky and eventually building a house.