The Dead of Winter: How Winter Began
When I think of beginning a book, one thing I consider is how many times it has been done. Notice I said “how many times,” because I came to the conclusion that everything has already been done – and not just once, but many times. I even made a matrix to figure it all out.
Several times over the years, I”ve thought that rather than writing about wizards, or elves, or dragons, I wanted to write a book about someone who could see and communicate with ghosts. (Oh yeah, I realize that’s been done too…) I approached the idea from a variety of angles, but none worked for me. A few titles went through my mind, but I’m not good with titles. Not surprisingly none of those helped either.
Along came the winter when the DC area was slammed with one snow storm after another. Then snow storms became all out blizzards. I looked out the window at what most saw as a white winter wonderland. I however, don’t like snow. While I admired the innate beauty of the scene before my eyes, all I could think was, “God, it’s the dead of winter out there.”
A fraction of a second later, not only did I have the title, but ideas for the story started to stream inside my mind and come together.
(Maybe I wouldn’t still be working on “Winter” if I hadn’t had a blizzard-related accident, which kept me from working on the book for months – just when I’d really begun. I know that somehow that’s the root of my slow progress with this book.)
“The Dead of Winter” took a much different form than I had expected during all the times I tried to get the story of someone who saw ghosts to come together. Previously I had imagined an adult heroine, and a real world setting. I tried different characters in multiple locations, with various types and degrees of magic involved. All were far away from what flowed in my mind that day.
Instead of an adult in our world, it was a young girl in a fantasy world. I’ve enjoyed building the numerous characters, countries, and cultures that compose “The Dead of Winter.” It’s been almost finished for many months now. Somehow… before winter is over again…