Never in my wildest dreams did I think this moment would come. When I hit the “publish” button I was numb, in a state of shock. I’m not sure whether it was ecstasy, despair, or a mixture of both.
Ecstasy because I have achieved a goal few people ever do – I have written a book, edited and tweaked it, and put it on Amazon for the masses. Whether or not it is a best-seller is irrelevant at this point. I am just happy to have finished the manuscript and brought it to fruition. One more tick off my bucket list.
Despair because the book is done. Over. Finished. What will I do now?
The good thing is that I will not be saying goodbye to my main characters, Inzared and Cecil. Book two is already written and I am editing it as I post this. INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders (Book Two), is due to be released in October, 2012, with Book Three in the series released in 2013. I would feel bad if I had to say adios to Inzared and the colorful circus characters that have taken over my life for almost three years now. Not every waking moment, but much of my time, has been spent in conversations in my head with a raggle-taggle bunch of Gypsy circus performers, a backwoods hill family from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the mid-1800’s, and a wrinkled elephant named Cecil. I’m not sure I could function without them (at least, I’m glad I don’t have to!).
You might like to know where this story originated. So would I. Truth is, I sat down at my computer one night, opened up a word processing program, and started typing. The tale leapt from my fingers faster than I could type (and I type fast!). The story was easy, but the editing was rough. It’s very hard to cut scenes and characters, conversation and food from your work. Especially hard for me was cutting the meal planning and cooking scenes. I love to cook and plan meals well in advance. I have a good knowledge of cooking over a campfire and food and hunting in the Civil War Era (from reenactments with my brother and his wife), and I yearned to share it with my readers. I may have gone a little overboard – at least my helpful Writer’s Group said so – and I took their words to heart and cut much of that type of writing out of the book. However, I did manage to leave a few mouth-watering outdoor cooking segments for readers to drool over.
I also had to totally rewrite the first couple of chapters, as my storyline was dangerously close to another (very popular) book that I grew up with. I didn’t even realize it until, again, my helpful Writer’s Group came to the rescue and said “what are you doing? This sounds just like ………….” Well, I really liked the tornado scene, but I cut it, along with a lot of other things, and the story became much better. Even I can see that.
As a kid I was entranced by the circus. I think I was able to go to three or four times growing up, and the most eventful was with my grandpa. My parents went alone on vacation for the first time and left my two sisters, my brother and me with my mom’s parents. We loved going to their farm. There were horses to ride, strawberries to pick, and fields to run in. Even better, we got to put our tent up in the yard and sleep there. What fun! Grandma braided our hair early in the afternoon and off we went with Grandpa to the circus. I’m not sure why Grandma didn’t go, but only Grandpa and we three girls went. It was magical. I can still see the center ring and hear the refreshment hawkers. I especially remember the Cracker Jack vendor. He screamed over the crowd, promising a free gold watch to one lucky winner. Never before or since have I seen so much Cracker Jack sold. The watch went to a man in the front row, who may have been a shill, but to me at nine years of age the promise rang true. I do remember Grandpa fussing a little, though, that he got “taken.” No matter, we loved the excitement, the popcorn and cotton candy, watching the elephant act and the trapeze artists. There was an excitement in the air that you can only feel at the circus. Danger, the unknown, bright costumes, the Ringmaster’s call, and the funny clowns. It was especially from this one eventful summer night in a small Michigan farming community that I drew memories, added a splash of Gypsy folklore, an elephant and a love story, and INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders was born. I should add that I was determined after that to run away to join the circus (always the romantic), but by the time one came close again I was in my teens and more into boys, so the opportunity never arose.
My other big circus memory is being able to take the train to Detroit as an adolescent and attend the Shriner’s Circus. Older and wiser (all of twelve) I still was drawn into the acts and the excitement. Plus, at that particular circus, Miss Michigan was the emcee and I got to meet her and get her autograph after the show. I hope I have been able to purvey the way I felt attending the circus into my novel so all who read it will feel that peculiar sense of observing something magical.
So, although I was never able to be part of an actual circus, I wanted to, and that must count for something, doesn’t it? The internet is an amazing thing and offered up loads of research (which is my favorite part of writing). I hope you will decide to read INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders and join me on my action-packed foray into the world of a Gypsy circus set in the mid 1800’s. Please let me know what you think. I welcome all comments. And, if you read the book, please consider leaving a review, liking the Amazon page, and adding tags. They are all things an author needs to be successful. Thank you.
If you haven’t seen the video trailer for INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders, check it out here: http://youtu.be/lQHtsFQGAP0
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