Almost six years since the initial idea glimmered in my mind, Living Echoes is finally a completed novel.
For about half that time, I didn’t know how it would end. Every word of the last phrase was clear, except the proper noun subject. It was only as I wrote that the ending crystallized.
Then it took me about another couple of years to write to that point. During recent months, I’ve been fine-tuning the manuscript and running it through my online critique group. Certain spots that needed work and ways to fix them have been occurring to me. But this morning, I feel as if the novel is finished. Although it may need a little tweaking or polishing here and there, I have confidence that the work as a whole is complete. Other authors may understand this feeling.
Living Echoes features a complex plot and construction. The first section, Echoes, contains chapters consisting of short “Now” scenes followed by longer “Then” scenes. The second section, Living, goes forward in current time from the previous chapter.
The book begins with the protagonist, Jillian Norris Gardner, sustaining severe injuries in an accident. As scenes unfold, readers discover her multi-faceted crisis on physical, marital, and spiritual levels. And everything is complicated by her brain injury.
One reason this novel took so long to write is due to the extensive research required for its realistic portrayal of brain injury. I didn’t want readers who have experienced it themselves or in a loved one to feel cheated. Those experiences vary widely. And while Jillian’s story may differ from a reader’s, it rings true. At the same time, experiences of infidelity occur on a wide-ranging spectrum. I didn’t want readers to feel as if I sugar-coated the problem or applied a band-aid. Although Jillian’s resolution may not or should not reflect that of readers, it too is true. This novel is a unique and fictional story, but I believe many readers will feel it reflects aspects of their own.
Just as the novel itself consists of two parts, its fruition includes two major aspects: writing and publishing. With the hard work of writing the manuscript behind me, I’m ready to tackle the tough job of shopping it to publishers.