Some of our most beloved stories begin with once upon a time. We’re taken to faraway places and follow idealized heroes as they journey through the enchanted forest between good and evil. In the end, there’s a lesson to be learned. A cautionary tale that must be heeded. But it always works out in the end. Why? Because the hero or heroine always gets the lesson in time to overcome. In the real world, that rarely is the case.
Call me a cynic, a fatalist, or a number of words that describe someone who sees the world the way it is not how we want it to be. No matter the label the outcome won’t change. I’ve said it before and I’ll state it again; I don’t believe in happily ever after. I don’t believe in fairy tales. Call me tolerant of them. I understand why they exist. People need escapism to cope in a mad world. But I cannot indulge in the practice. Someone might ask, isn’t that what fiction writers do – tell fables?
Yes, fiction writers tell fables. We stretch the truth. But one can argue that fairy tales are fables gone awry. The truth can only be stretched so far, for so long, before it becomes a huge lie and once we go there, one lie begets another and another. I’m not a saint, but I have a limited cache of dishonesty per Diem. If there’s no other area in my life where I’m free to live in truth, then writing has to be that sanctuary. Through the metrical structure of language is where I harness the courage, to be honest. Writing Fire in the Blood was that epiphany for me.
In my original longer version of the story, the heroine had inherited a special gift, one she sought to understand on her journey to find her aunt in the West. But it was a tumultuous time to go on a heroine’s journey. Racial tensions, a grave financial downturn, poverty, hunger, and despair ruled the day. Along the way, all culminated in a comeuppance for atrocities that took place a decade before in my fictional version of Greenwood, Oklahoma. The heroine was faced