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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How a novel is born: "Love of a Stonemason"

I want to give my prospective and current readers some background to the creative process behind my novel. I think it's always interesting to hear "the story behind the story."

In my case, it was a series of deaths in my family and among my friends a few years ago. Within three months, I lost my mother, my brother-in-law, and one of my closest friends. The death of my mother left me as the last survivor of our immediate family, my father and my only sister having passed on years before. After the funeral, I began the difficult task of cleaning out our family home in Switzerland, getting it ready for renovations. I shuffled through old documents, read letters my parents, my sister, and I exchanged, while I lived abroad. I even found a love letter my father had written to my mother while he served in the Swiss Army during the Second World War. I took down my father's paintings in the home--he was an artist as a young man--and wrapped them, so they wouldn't get damaged during the renovation. I met with a stonemason to talk about the tombstone on my parent's grave.

One evening, I was sitting in front of the fireplace in the only room in our house that wasn't full of boxes and bags, staring into the flames. It was a cold January night. Thick snowflakes were floating to the ground. I finally had time to reflect and to mourn and I did what I always do when I am in an intense period of my life. I began to write. I wrote about a young painter, who struggled with loss and loneliness, about a stonemason, who carved tombstones and who, interestingly enough, became the harbinger of new life for the young woman.

The novel is pure fiction, all the characters are made up, but the building blocks of the story can be found somewhere in my own life. Over the following few years and with the help and support of some very dear friends, the book took on shape. What began as a time of death and loss was transformed into something new, life-affirming, and uplifting. I offer it to you, dear Reader, and I hope you will enjoy it. If you feel like it, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

The novel is available as an ebook at for the Kindle.

If you prefer paperback, click here.

Thank you and Happy Reading.

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