So when people call me up and talk to me (assuming that I’m not chasing after my son at that moment or the phone’s not being hogged by my hubby), they usually ask, “So…what you’ve been writing lately?”
I usually mumble something how I got a couple of short stories in the works (which isn’t true now since I finished them and sent them off in August), or a couple of essays, but I never really mention my opus, the sack of dreams weighing heavily on my back, groaning as more ideas are stuffed in its gullet. My book.
Weeping of the Willows, I think, started out as a short story I twiddled around with when I first got out of high school. I always loved the warrior woman motif, but what I always see on the fantasy shelves at the bookstores was your typical busty, long-haired Xena, complete with a few scraps of leather covering her bare essentials, and often with a big-ass sword strapped to her back.
All of them, of course, was white.
Well, thought I, back when I had little to do but dream lofty dreams and scribble madly in my
diaryJournal, if I wrote a fantasy book, I would have a woman fighter who’s black. Lofty ideas, but that was all I had, since I had more important things to do my first year of college such as play cards and go to parties and quietly flunk out my sophomore year.
So I found myself suddenly having to join the workforce, and for the next six years, as I worked my way up from clerk to receptionist to secretary in Corporateville, I had swatches of time when I had literally nothing to do. So I could either invoke the wrath of my boss in playing video games (which I did around 4:30p or so, when no one was around) or I could actually put all that free time to use and actually start writing.
Weeping of the Willowstells the story of Coren, a young black woman warrior ordered to kidnap a well-known doctor. She becomes a bodyguard instead to the doctor’s son, a young man named Joshua who learns that he has the power to hear and control trees, and eventually all of nature. Joshua and Coren fall in love (of course) but they have to contend with Lord Keor, Coren’s master, who has recently discovered powers of his own. Can Coren and Joshua stop him before he enslaves the minds of everyone and causes Cataclysm?
When I first started the book, I had intended this trilogy (and yes, it is a trilogy, as all good fantasy stories must be ;-) ) to be an allegorical Christian fantasy. I’ve pretty much stopped describing it as such, partly because I’ve read lots of Christian Fantasy–okay, I’ve read the few good titles of Christian Fantasy–okay, I read the piddling few good titles…
Needless to say, I decided to submit the secular market. There are still deep Biblical issues in the book, (free will, clash of religions, the use of organized religion to prey on the weak, etc.) as well as identity and cultural issues. And though I did stop working on the book from 1998 until 2004, I actually feel that time was quite useful, as I was the secretary for the Reformed Church in America’s Africa mission office, and what I learned there really helped to flesh out the African culture in my book. When I finally did start writing again, the book and its characters really started coming together.
So seeing it’s time for me to wrap this up, I do want to call attention to the word meter on the right. It’s not calibrated right now, but as I continue writing, I’ll update what I’ve written on the meter. At the moment, I’m about a quarter of the way through the book, with my averaging two-three pages per day. My hope is to get this book finished by next year.
So what am I waiting for? I should be writing!