I’ve circled back to the story that became What If … Wasn’t several times, never quite sure where it was headed … until I finished Objects in View and really needed a break from my two series. They are ongoing. There will be more books. Fount of Dreams is about 1/3 written. A Threatening Fragility is about the same. But this book needs to be published.
This coincided with a local author friend who writes romance asking me to alpha read her latest, which includes the typical felon who didn’t commit the crime, but gets accused for more crimes because well, he’s a felon, and he wins the girl, is found innocent and lives happily ever after.
It’s probably not wise to ask a non-romance reader to read your romance novel, but I have a really low tolerance for the white-washing of reality. I circled back to What If … Wasn’t because I couldn’t find a single reality-based prison reentry fiction on Amazon. There have got to be some, but I couldn’t find them.
Things changed in the rewrite. Conditions have changed in the real world since I first began working on this story. I adjusted some of the story to make it contemporary. And, as always, I wrote long in my work-in-progress that I didn’t think I’d ever publish, so I had to remove some material to focus on what was important.
Although Peter is a product of my imagination, his experiences are loosely based on stories people have shared with me or that I was privy to as a psychiatric transcriptionist. I have carefully parsed those stories so that nobody can say I used their story, but all of the experiences are based on real stories.
As I alluded in the earlier post on prison re-entry, this is a HUGE subject in our country right now. I don’t write propaganda. I’m a novelist, not a pundit. But I hope people will learn from my book and come to empathize with people like Peter who made a mistake and is just trying to find his way in the world afterward.
I’ve published four books so far, all in the speculative fiction arena, so this may seem like a stretch for me, but in reality, I started out as a literary fiction writer who dabbled in speculative fiction. So, in a way, you could consider this to be a return to my roots.