Figured I’d take an inventory of the various projects I have at various stages of completion.
This was originally a NaNoWriMo novella (55,000 words), but I liked the characters so well that I’ve decided to bring them back in a fully-fleshed out novel and a series of short stories. The main character, Jess, is the daughter of a father who didn’t want her, a mother who did and is herself the mother of a child born out of wedlock. It started out as a suspense story but has morphed into a Bildungsroman, themed around familes; the ones we are born with and the ones we choose.
Young Amish girl decides to leave the faith and her family to practice medicine. I originally conceived of this story when I was 15–well in advance of the current spate of Amish fiction–when my aunt and uncle (a doctor) hired Amish girls to clean their house. In this book it is while cleaning the home of a doctor that the girl is exposed to the world of science. The main conflict in this book is faith V. science.
*I do not love this title. At all. It’ll most likely be changed. But Powwow is a type of folk medicine/faith healing practiced by certain segments of Amish society and figures largely in the first half of the story.
The Physicians Of Myddfai
Another book with another title to be changed. This book starts off with a longer retelling of the Myddfai (Moth-vey) legend about the origins of Welsh herbal pharmacology and is similar in structure to Sarum or The Red Violin as it follows the herbal compendium through several generations of Welsh and Welsh-Americans. Since it’s structured as a series of short stories I aim to submit these to various magazines as well as publishers. This is probably my favourite book to work on; most of my current writing is in reworking the legend chapter.
I realise that doctors play roles large and small in all of my work. I come from a large family of doctors, nurses and lawyers and personally find the practice of medicine fascinating. It makes for great conflict on several levels and also allows characters to be more fluid in social structures. Physicians are one of the few characters who are needed by rich and poor alike, whose career can take them from the palace to the ghetto to the battlefield and even to space. I like writing doctors and doctors’ families.
And of course there’s that old anecdote about the three types of books that sell being those about doctors, dogs or Abraham Lincoln.