As far as I’m concerned, Man Martin said it all in his recent post here. “Southerner’s don’t just like Nature… We get down like dogs and roll in it.” (If you missed his post, scroll down to read it in full.) When he cited Mark Twain as a writer who got the relationship between Nature and Character and Author correct, Martin was once again dead center of the truth.
In my debut novel, The Tender Mercy of Roses, Nature didn’t simply appear as setting: it wound in and out of the characters’ lives, leaving a scented trail of roses you could smell across state lines. And the roses weren’t intentional, either. There was not a single moment when I consciously decided to use roses in a symbolic and mystical way. The roses simply happened - probably because I grew up on a farm, steeped in nature by long treks through the woods and across the pastures with my daddy. Or maybe because my own gardens were heavy with bloom and fragrance when I started writing the novel. Or perhaps for no other reason than I let go and fell into the story.
Falling is an excellent choice when it means setting aside ego and control and letting the Great Unconscious Mind get about the business of writing. On the other hand, falling is horrific when it means vertigo.
That brings me to both an explanation and an apology. Last week I was spun off the edge of the world into the painful free-fall of vertigo. Though I’ll soon be one hundred percent Me again, I still feel the slight hitch of floating if I try to track a moving cursor for too long. So please forgive the brevity and leave a comment anyhow. I’ll float by every now and then to answer.
My debut novel, The Tender Mercy of Roses (Gallery Books, hardcover) is now available for pre-order. As the book tour develops, I’ll post the schedule on my website, www.annamichaels.net. I look forward to meeting readers who can come.