Behind The Story ~ Full Moons

On a September night—I believe it was the year 2000—I went outside to my deck. A full moon was already above the trees. I stood listening to the sound of insects, breathing the fresh night air, and looking up at the night skies.

Autumn would arrive in a matter of days. Where had the summer gone? Wasn’t springtime only yesterday? I couldn’t believe I was looking at the last full moon of summer. Suddenly, an idea for a book title popped into my head.

Excited about my idea, a story began to form. I pictured the setting—a lake with cabins nestled about. I imagined a woman standing outside at night when she saw something strange at a cabin on the opposite side of the lake. Character names began to weave their way into my imagination.

When I went back in the house, I opened my word processor and wrote a few paragraphs. Even though I didn’t have the slightest clue on how to structure a novel, I didn’t want to forget my idea.

Since the age of ten, I dreamed of becoming a writer. However, except for writing a short novel my senior year of high school and a few poems, I’d done nothing to fulfill that dream. After coming up with the perfect title and storyline, it took another seven years before I took online writing classes and began to write. Even then, my writing was mostly non-fiction.

Flash forward to 2011. Texas experienced its hottest and driest summer in recent history. Triple-digit temperatures remained well into September. Wildfires were rampant throughout the state. Many rivers and lakes began to dry up. People discovered items previously hidden beneath the waters—including part of the space shuttle Columbia that had exploded over Texas eight years earlier.

And my story idea, which originated on a September night eleven years earlier, was still in my head. I sat at Chili’s one day with a friend who is also a writer. We talked about the recent underwater discoveries, the drought, and as writers often do—we discussed writing.

“Did you hear about…? I think I’ll incorporate that into my novel and have it set in 2011 during the drought.”

“Good idea,” she said.

It took almost another three years before I made a concerted effort to finish the manuscript.  Character names changed. The title changed. In fact, the only similarity between the completed draft and the original idea is that a character does see something strange and inexplicable at a lake.

Unseen Motives will go out to beta readers within the next couple of weeks. Another round of edits will occur before I send it to an editor and then comes the final edit. It’s been a long journey and has taken many twists and turns, but it’s nearing the end.

Next week, I’ll introduce you to the protagonist, Stephanie Harris. Hope you’ll join me to learn more about her and her quest to discover the truth about a twenty-year-old crime.

Oh, the original title? I still think it’s a good one—and to date, no one has used it. Someday I may write a story that fits. And this year’s last full moon of summer? It’s Friday, September 16. If you get a chance, get outside and enjoy those night skies.

  • Sounds absolutely fabulous, Joan! I can ‘t wait to discover it. And what a great idea using the drought to reveal something in the lake. I’m intrigued already.

    I’m glad that a long ago full moon inspired you to follow the path you’re on now. Sometimes it just takes us a while to find the calling of our hearts. 🙂

    • There are secrets beneath the waters. 🙂 Yes, it took me a while, but this is one story that kept coming back to me. Happy that it’s nearly completed and looking forward to my next project.

  • Boy, I had a heck of a time getting to your site today. (You know me and technology.)

    You also know me and moons. I can’t wait to read your novel. It’s exciting when you’re this close to release, isn’t it?

    • Well, it may not have been you. My entire site (even the back end) was done this morning because Blue Host was doing maintenance. Go figure!

      And yes, I’m excited to be this close. As I told Mae, I’m ready for another project!

  • Michele Jones

    I love a good mystery. I can’t wait to read this. As for your previous title? I hope you get to use it.

    • An idea is forming – or at least the book cover. 🙂 Not sure what I’ll do with it, but I do want to use it someday.

  • Looking forward to reading your novel. Fun to read how you got to this stage of writing.

    • I’m so ready to publish this one. As you can tell from the post, its been a long time coming. Learned a lot in the writing process, however, and I don’t think the next one will take as long to write and edit. (Hope not, anyway.)

  • kathunsworth

    Joan you have worked so hard you are an inspiration. Good luck with the release too!

    • Thanks, Kath. This one has been too long in coming, but the release isn’t too far off. Hopefully, the second book will go a lot faster!

      • kathunsworth

        Im telling myself that for the picture book dreams too. Hopefully second one I will have learnt lots. You should feel proud to have finished Joan well done. Im cheering you on.

        • You’re doing great, Kath. Although I don’t comment often, I see your drawings on Facebook. Very talented!