When I first met with Deeds Publishing, I described the process of crafting my novel like growing a puzzle with hundreds or even thousands of small, interlocking pieces. They said it was an interesting concept, with tilted heads and smiling eyes, and asked for more…
I explained that at first a tiny seedling of an idea will begin to bury itself in your head. You leave it there for a while, in your subconscious, and let it begin to shape itself and form underground. At some point, you sit down and begin to write and the idea breaks through and begins to grow. As the stalk grows taller, leaves form and flowers blossom, every once in a while thorns will emerge that sting and cause you to stumble. But eventually, the words come out and play across the computer screen in the form of sentences and paragraphs, characters and plots, love and pain. It’s at this point that those words begin to morph into a full-fledged puzzle.
At least that’s the way it felt to me, as I lived the majority of my adolescent years as an only child where games of Solitaire, crosswords, word searches and puzzles were my main companions. The puzzles became the most gratifying for me, though, seeing the completed images when the work was done. And the smaller the pieces, the more of them there were, and the greater the satisfaction I would feel when the puzzle was done. Sometimes, they were pictures of unicorns and flowers, others were photos of Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower or canals in Venice – images that I could only dream of someday seeing, living as a lower to middle-class girl in Maine. Those ‘big’ puzzles would often take weeks for me to finish. When the pieces were all perfectly put together, I would sit back and stare down at my mini masterpiece with a proud smile.
Anyone who knows puzzles understands that there is a method to the madness of putting one together. First, you separate the tell-tale flat edges and piece those together first. That square or rectangular outline will then serve as your foundation, and the rest of it is just keeping one eye on the picture on the box and the other searching for the pieces as you slowly fill the outline in. Corners are filled in, images are formed and the picture becomes clearer and clearer with each new piece that’s put in.
Crafting a story is the same concept for me, as I build my foundation, lay out all of the pieces (which for story-telling became hundreds of Post-it notes stuck on my bedroom wall) and one-by-one, figure out how to connect the pieces to create a novel. As an active mother of two, Falling Through Trees became my real-life puzzle that took years to create and slowly piece together. I hope that this ‘puzzle’ with Kate and Molly, two sisters who love each but lived divided by the past, secrets and pain, will be read and enjoyed by many…. Especially, those readers who understand the satisfaction of seeing a picture in your head (or on the box) and reaching out to grab it, bringing it to life for all to see.