How I came to write my sixth novel, Abandoned Dreams
Son or daughter, sibling, spouse, parent, employee, employer – these are just some of the roles we have either been born into, had bestowed upon by us by others or have even sought out for ourselves.
But do these roles, these facades really represent the person we are – our hopes, dreams, fears, and insecurities. In accepting these roles are we masking our real personalities – intentionally or otherwise.
Sometimes roles are thrust upon us because of circumstances or our own mistaken actions.
When I was eighteen my best friend got his girlfriend pregnant. Today you would say my best friend and his girlfriend got pregnant, but back then it was different. Quickly, and not necessarily of his own choosing he took on the roles of husband and father.
This is a theme that has haunted me for a long time and one I took on in my sixth novel Abandoned Dreams. Here’s the story:
At twenty-seven years-old, George Fairweather is “the voice of his generation”, a poet whose talent has garnered him accolades from the literary establishment and homage from the disenfranchised “hippie” youth of the late 1960’s.
George is the embodiment of the times with his long hair, rebellious attitude and regular use of mind-expanding psychedelic drugs.
Then the sudden and tragic death of Fallon, his friend, his muse and his lover shatters his world, his sanity and nearly ends his life.
Katherine is the one person who stands between George and destruction. A hanger-on, a groupie, a go-for, she’s a woman George never considered – for anything. Katherine idolizes George and makes it her personal mission to keep him alive, doing whatever it takes, twenty-four seven.
Because of Katherine’s sacrifice and devotion George slowly begins to mend his soul and rebuild a life. But guilt and gratitude make it a much different life then he’d previously led.
Thirty-seven years later, George Fairweather is a husband, father and grandfather and a successful copywriter at an advertising agency. Another death, his wife Katherine’s, is about to change his life again.
Can dreams be resurrected? Can a life abandoned be taken up again?
Will they let him? Is it worth it?
I wanted a challenge with novel. I wanted to stretch myself as a writer. Because of the nature of plot I decided that the narrative would almost entirely be told by people other than the protagonist, George Fairweather. I wanted George to be an enigma. Different characters would see him differently depending on the role they cast him in – father, grandfather, lover, friend.
In the end, his true personality would emerge – or not. I wasn’t sure.
I wanted to present a scene and then have different characters interact and reflect on it in their own voice. To achieve this I needed to develop deep character profiles apart from the novel.
The characters I created were complex and multi-dimensional as well as being different ages and genders and having different motivations.
Then I outlined the plot, dropped them in and hung on.
Abandoned Dreams apparently didn’t wake anyone up. It has garnered less response than any of my previous books – and that’s saying something.
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.
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