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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Barn Fires

Someone recently asked what the significance of barn fires was to me. My book's back cover watermark references one and certainly there was a gripping scene about a fire. The Charity's Facebook banner often features an image of the aftermath of a barn fire, too. So what gives?

A bit of back story: I mentioned in an earlier blog that writing is not an isolating experience as it brings into focus all of a writer's life events. These events are sifted through and examined to bring perspective to a fact based journalism piece or to bring to life a fictional scene or story. I believe that a hallmark of good fiction writing (especially of the legal thriller variety) is to ground the story in enough realism and fact that your reader is happily led from the threads of truth into your web of lies. For me, using a strong foundation of personal experience helps to create stories that are solid, compelling and worthy of my reader's investment of time.

And now the real back story: When I was a little girl of five, an arsonist burned down my family's dairy barn. It was the first time I was exposed to the fact that good people have bad things happen to them and that a person who may "look nice" can do unspeakable acts of evil. The images on The Charity's Facebook page and the watermark on the back cover are images from my childhood. Frankly, it was only when I was an adult I that placed the term "terrorism" over that single act of a man with a grudge and a match.

I'm sure that future blogs will develop around the threads and plot lines of my main character's travails, but the overarching theme of who she - Jessica - is and what the life events are that shaped her source back to that St. Patrick's day when my backyard was filled with flames.

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