It was a story that had been dancing in my heart and mind for quite some time before I actually took the time to put it on paper. Though it is purely a work of fiction, and the characters are of my imagination, small parts of my own life pepper the pages.

First is the farm house to which my protagonist Nora MacKenzie flees.
“Ahead, perched high on her mountain overlooking the Vermont mountain ranges, was a sunlit terrace. And standing she spied the peak of the redwood and brick structure looming high above the purple heather. Next appeared the large, angular windows divided by a mammoth beam and lastly, the breadth of the house.”  (pg. 43, "The Long Road Home")
The inspiration behind the house described in the novel is a family home where I spent many of days as a young wife and mother, tucked away in the Vermont mountains outside of Manchester. A photo of the home is included in the book trailer posted on my website. It's at that home where I learned how to raise sheep, which happens to also be an important element of the story.

Spending time on the farm, I learned a thing or two about pesky porcupines, and I can handle my own when it comes to a shotgun. When you're living way up in the mountains, isolated from police or even a neighbor, a woman must know how to defend herself and her children, just in case.

I give a little nod to my German roots through the character Nora, who periodically reflects on the wise words of her Oma, or grandmother.

And the novel begins with a quote from one of my favorite poets, whom I studied in great detail in college.

“For he hears the lamb’s innocent call,
And he hears the ewe’s tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.”

-William Blake “The Shepherd”
What a wonderful experience it was to blend some of my life’s favorite things with the imaginative stories that lived in my mind for such a long time. As the expression goes, write what you know.

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing how pieces of your life come through your novels. One of my childhood friends introduced me to "The Beach House" and I have, in turn, passed it and "Swimming Lessons" along to others.

    I'm excited to get a copy of this book as well! Thanks for the behind the scenes look!


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Mary Alice