We writers are never quite sure what pushes us to tell a certain story. Some little-known fact. Perhaps an article on a back page of the newspaper or a snippet from a poem sets us off.
Where did Rivers of Stone begin? Maybe with mermaids off the coast of Scotland that morphed into the first book of this series, Standing Stones. Maybe with the continued saga of Mac and Deidre in Tasmania, Australia, in the second book of the series, Years of Stone.
And maybe it was just time to tell the story of Dougal, Mac's brother and a fiddler, and his sweetheart, Catriona. Rivers of Stone was shaped by countless camping and hiking trips across Canada as we traveled east to visit family. I was fascinated by the fur trade era and those who crossed the Rockies. Here's a picture of a breakfast view from our last camping trip near Banff in 2015.
Then three years ago, I read a little blip about Isobel Gunn who disguised herself as a man to work for the Hudson's Bay Company in 1806. She remained undiscovered for two years until she became pregnant.
Almost immediately, Catriona moved from supporting character to primary protagonist.
I don't know how others might define 'literary pilgrimage'. For me, it's that journey writers take as we sink into the characters, the history of their lives, inner and outer, and the story itself. Sometimes I wish the writing of a novel would take less than three years, but this process of 'coming to know' -- at least for me -- simply takes time.
Time to get back to those final revisions, with thankfulness for my beta readers who now have their review copy of Rivers of Stone in their inbox!
With thanks to John Fox of Bookfox for his "50 Good Questions to Ask Authors."