March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: Amazon.com/Linda A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Edgar and Mrs. Birn

The characters in The Children Are Tender came to life for me with such clarity that I began to feel I was writing a story that already existed rather than creating something new.  I was afraid this phenomenon was simply my own almost-maternal feeling toward my book, but then I had a dear friend read the manuscript. Toward the end of the tale she found herself praying for a character who was preparing to make a speech before the school board: "Dear Lord please be with Ruth..."

My friend said she jerked to reality with a start as she realized she didn't need to spend intercessory energy on a book character, and then looked quickly around her as though to check whether anyone noticed...

I found myself similarly connected to a little guy named Edgar who appears in chapter ten. He is an emotionally damaged child who finally lets down his guard and runs across the playground into his teacher's arms. This vignette was so clear in my mind that the night before my pre-publication checklist was due, I had my daughter and conveniently first-grade-sized grandson re-inact the scene. It was a blustery October day, the sun was under a cloud, and we didn't have time or energy to go to the playground at the school. I couldn't find my old teacher's whistle to use as a prop; the scene was so clear in my mind that the impact of the child's body into the teacher's arms flings her whistle back over her shoulder. Nevertheless, I used my phone camera to snap a few hasty shots, and somehow the results elicit the emotion of that moment in chapter ten. The boy's fists are clenched shut, the curve of his cheek and shape of his head elicit empathy, and the teacher's comforting arms offer hope for this child. I sent the photo off to the publisher along with my author bio and back cover copy.

I'm looking forward to seeing the publisher's design!

No comments:

Post a Comment