Ireland and Sicily

Hi stranger! Long time, no chat.

It’s been a crazy, wonderful summer, what with trips to Sicily (divine) and to Saratoga Springs, NY, for readings and family time.
Got back last night. Determined to finish Lace Curtain. And I will, starting tomorrow.

Lace Curtain is challenging me, and I need to remind myself how often Shanty Gold did the same. When you’re creating lives on a page, those lives, just like ours, can get, uh, messy.

I’ve written myself into a corner with one, Nellie Kelly, Lace Curtain’s protagonist. She’s the headstrong daughter of Mary Boland who, as a teenager in Puritan Boston is facing her own problems as well as victories.

You see, I had figured out one ending for this book. Oh, did I tell you that when I start a new novel, I know how it will begin and how it will end, but nothing in between. This approach worked for me in Shanty Gold because Mary Boland informed me in dreams how she wanted her life to go.

That is not always the case with Nellie. Certainly, her life has less tragedy in the beginning than did Mary’s, but she faces other problems. Problems that her mother would never have dreamed of.

That’s the way it is with generations. Times change and so do the mores of those times. That’s what makes historical fiction so fascinating and at the same time, so difficult.

I knew exactly how Nellie’s story would end, but my trip to Sicily in June changed all that. Hint: Flavia, our wonderful tour guide, asked us one thing. “Please tell the people in your country that Sicily is much more than the Mafia and pizza.”

Although the Mafia really didn’t get into full swing until after World War Two, I had a hint of it in Lace Curtain.

I loved Sicily so much I just can’t do that dear country in any more.
Ergo, a new twist!

Stay tuned. I’ve missed you.Matt n Jeanne