I started Victoria as a retelling of Snow White and female relationships are incredibly important to that fairy tale. I’d thought to show Snow White from the outside because stories from her POV always seem angsty and failed. So Victoria, her scheming younger sister, would play the lead, and Bella would be Snow White.
But the story didn’t turn out that way. In fact, Bella became a rather shady character. And unlike in Snow White, the world of Victoria got filled with assassins and thugs and gained a very different theme altogether. When I created Ignacio, I’d had an idea of him as a benevolent character who would care about Bella. But he became more like Boba Fett. Ignacio can pretend friendliness, especially when he’s trying to get information, but he is always up to something and is very confrontational.
The Hirado is a trained and hired mercenary who goes around killing people—again like Boba Fett, or like any criminal or bounty hunter from other stories. And Webster, though lighter, is always verbally aggressive. This story has an action angle I didn't expect instead of a fairy-tale feeling. And the more I work with it, the more I'm glad it grew in that direction. Nothing's better--and more challenging--than a story with a will of its own. And this story has always had one of the most independent wills of any of my books and I can never get it to do what I want. It keeps growing and growing on its own.
And there will be more updates.
The Harrisons is a pretty long book, much longer than I normally write. In fact, when I removed it years ago I talked about lots of additional material that I might put in a published version. But of course I never did. I worked with those extra bits for another couple of years, but something never felt right, and then I forgot about the story for a long time.
When I came back I realized those extras weren’t needed. In fact, some trimming was what was really required. What appeared on FB was a rough draft, and I can’t remember when I pieced together the document I have, but it’s even rougher than the one I presented. So tidying The Harrisons is a massive undertaking even if almost no new additions are needed.
The style was rough-draftish, drifting and just a lot of words. I’m giving it a good deep edit and the story is growing back into a nice shape. It’s about a homeschooling family of grownup daughters who live on a country estate in Texas. One has just graduated high school; the second has been forced to go to a private school by her rich aunt; and the third is a very quiet, sneaky girl. A secondary plot involves their cousin, a cynical woman who works in a restaurant and gets back together with her mother, a famous singer, and a tertiary plot concerns the congregation of the Harrisons’ church.
So it’s hard to say what the story is about, exactly, since it really does have a lot of arcs. And while I’m working on it, words after words, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. It poured out of me with amazing speed, like a river, and now I’m channeling it back into something publishable.
And there will be more updates.
I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.