Why I wrote Between Families.
I believe stories are important. They are healing. They are normalizing. We need them in our most difficult times. We need them to tell us the truth about our humanity.
Between Families is a novel I started when I had just left working in a residential treatment facility. I created the character, Seffra Morgan, as a composite character based on many of the students I'd worked with over the years. Some of her traits and memories are based on things that happened to me as a young woman, and some are based on things I witnessed as a teacher. They all ring true in a way that only fiction can.
The first draft of Between Families was terrible. Well, not wholly terrible. It had some good writing and the outline of a good story. After I finished, I had no idea what to do with it. I shelved it and didn't touch it for several years. Now, finished with my master's degree in creative writing, I've returned to it and begun slogging through the difficult process of revising and editing. But I can't do it alone.
I need help. I need an editor. I need a cover. And for these things I need a bit of money. I believe in the importance of this story. I want people to read it. So, once I have a polished novel to present, I will release it on Amazon as an ebook for $3.99.
Any amount I raise over my goal will go back into the project: toward marketing and print publishing costs.
Below is an excerpt from the current draft of the novel. You can see it has promise. So did the kids I worked with. I want them to read a story that normalizes their experience and shows them how one kid got through it.
"Between the last dry grains of sand and the first drops of sea, between the sun’s last sliver of light slipping below the horizon and the stars sparkling brightly, between the last scene in dreams and wiping sleep from weary eyes, therein lies the truth. The truth lies in between. Between the story you tell and the one your mother tells. Between what a murderer remembers and what a witness tells. Between the truth that the court puts down in a document and the one that you told the recorder. Between being yanked out of the messy family you were born into and piecing together a new one from the scraps you beg, borrow, and steal. That’s where the truth is and where the story lies: in between. Beginnings and endings are arbitrary. My story could start with my parents.
He shot her in the face. When my mother was eight months pregnant with me, my father held a gun to her cheek and pulled the trigger. She heard the barrel click, and quickly jerked her head up and over. So the bullet didn’t blast through her skull and kill her. Instead, it sliced a fine path up the bridge of her nose. It narrowly missed her eye, singeing eyelashes on its path up her face, scraping her just beneath her right eyebrow and lodging itself in the wall behind her. But she was fine. And I was fine. He must’ve been a fucking horrible shot."
Risks and challenges
My project has presented huge challenges. The two main struggles are named Gavin and Magnus: my kids. I had Gavin while I was working on my graduate degree. Still, writing is a passion and I carve out and protect time to do it. Sometimes it means I leave the house an absolute pigsty and head to a coffee shop where I think about nothing but my book. There's always a way and I'll find it. There are also times when I get stuck on how to fix something in the story. When that happens I contact a colleague and ask for help, or I sit until I fix it, OR what I do most often is go for a swim or a ski and leave the problem alone and the solution comes while I'm doing it. I have literally left my laptop on a bench next to the rec center pool and tried not to drip on the keyboard while typing when I figure out what to do.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)