In just a few weeks on May 26, my first short story collection The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen will be released, following hot on the heels of my second novel Music of Sacred Lakes, which is still rising on several Kindle bestseller lists (thank you!). There’s a story behind The Thin Places that I wanted to share with you before it goes to launch.
So, once upon a time….
The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen is a collection of stories about thin places between dimensions, portals between worlds, time juxtapositions, and the possibilities of the might-be-real, combining mythic fiction and fairytales with speculative supernatural stories. I wrote this book in just a week and a half, after it occurred to me that I already had a book’s worth of ideas swirling around in my head regarding portals between worlds. I wrote it, let it sit for a few months, and then went back to edit.
What I found was a little weird. Story after story about people trying to escape their circumstances. And people deciding to walk away. I had had just about the worst year possible in 2012-2013, with a seriously ill husband and many friends fighting cancer or passing away, and through some other upsetting circumstances I suddenly discovered that my longstanding anxiety was rooted in near-death experiences in childhood that had caused me to develop PTSD. It was actually a good thing that I finally got to the point where I was ready to walk away from anything and anyone in order to get healthy again, something I had never been able to do before. But that year made me feel like my world was melting. I was sick with something similar to strep throat and constant viruses for 15 months straight because of the stress. Nothing went right, except the writing, which was on fire.
When I came back to edit The Thin Places, I remembered I had written a story called ‘Origami,’ in which a chronically ill little girl dreams a magic paper crane into real life, which offers to carry her away over the mountains to where the children are never sick and can run and play. It seemed like one of those walking away stories. But when I read it over, and when my writers group looked through it, we agreed there was something wrong. Unlike the other stories of leaving everything behind to start fresh, this story needed a different ending. When I wrote it I wasn’t sure if I believed in going back to more suffering anymore. Everything seemed to point to walking away, since some of my suffering was caused by people and circumstances I could and should leave behind. But this story had echoes of my chronic illness of my early twenties, which I had just discovered was also in part caused by this childhood trauma. And it wasn’t a story about walking away from abuse or staying for more. It was a story about walking away from my challenges or coming back to remain engaged in my life. I just hadn’t known if I could take any more when I wrote it. So, the story of ‘Origami’ changed. And one of my friends who reviewed the book pre-release told me the other day that it was that story that surprised her the most and meant the most to her. Because she also has dealt with this kind of challenge. Where you have to decide to go back every day and keep living. It meant the world to me that I was able to get that through in the story to someone who has lived this kind of challenge.
So, you can take whatever you will from The Thin Places. I hope it is a unique and entertaining read. But if I have anything to say about what I learned while writing the book it’s this: I hope you will keep going back to your life. It may feel like it’s melting around you, but your life can still be on fire. It speaks to us all when you won’t walk away, except from the things you should leave behind.
Lest you think this is all angst and suffering, I’ll leave you with a hilarious review a new friend and reader just left on Amazon for The Thin Places. Because it is a pretty weird little book of tales. If you don’t like woowoo supernatural stories, stay far away from this one. ;)
The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen will be available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle on May 26th.