From the Depths of the Writing Well

Annabel-Thumbnail_72dpiI am very excited to have signed with a new publisher for my novel, Pharaoh’s Star. That’s exceptionally thrilling because I also just signed with a different publisher for my novel, Pleasant Day. These two books could not be more different. Pleasant Day is grounded in reality, sort of. She’s got this close relationship with her father, there is distance between she and her mother and she befriends an older woman, Clarissa Blackwell, who just happens to be a psychic. They go on and solve two murders that were committed fifteen years apart and all sorts of new bonds and secrets emerge that moves the plot toward a healing and growth and all that good stuff.

Pharaoh’s Star could not be more further out there in left field. When you read the name Pharaoh’s Star you probably think of space ships in the sky, and you’d be right. But is the spaceship really there? I found that I, as a writer, don’t have that answer. I was influenced by a book I read years and years ago called Communion. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend you do. The writer, Whitely Strieber, is not a flake and you can tell that right off. His story is amazing. But is it true? I’ve had odd things happen to me over the course of my life that makes me think I’ve been in some alternate state of reality somewhere and at some time. In any event, I’m fascinated by any and all things other worldly.

Maybe that’s why it took me years to write this book. I didn’t know if I wanted to make it real or not. There is an unwritten sequel to it which I guess will explain whether or not I believe in UFOs. But what comes out of my head about this stuff is really interesting when I sit down to write about it. I don’t know where the narrative is coming from. That’s why I’m promoting my novel here on my blog, Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem. Aside from the fact the two novels I speak of aren’t released yet. Anyway, in Annabel, I’ve got all these ideas about time and God that I never knew I had. I wish I really knew what I believed but I never get the chance to just sit down and think about it. But when I write, this stuff emerges in which I explore the unknown for myself. I can say I don’t believe in God but when I write I prove myself wrong.f

When I write southern fiction I’m always talking about genetic memory. I believe I’ve got deep South Carolina roots. When I write about space ships I find myself accepting the possibility and when I write about witches, my metaphor for the spirit or soul, I find that the concept of soul is something I have knowledge of, somewhere deep and from the depths of my writing well, I surprise myself.

Marybeth, Hollister & Jane was Vera Jane’s sixth novel published with Musa Publishing. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater was Vera Jane’s second southern fiction novel and was a finalist in the ForeWord book of the Year Awards for 2012 and received a five star ForeWord Clarion review, as well as an Eric Hoffer honorable mention for ebook fiction in 2013. Dancing Backward in Paradise also received a 5 Star Clarion ForeWord review and an Eric Hoffer notable new fiction award in 2006, as well as the Indie Excellence Award in 2006. Also by Vera Jane Cook: Lies a River Deep, Where the Wildflowers Grow and Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem. Her next novel, Pleasant Day will be published in 2015 by Moonshine Cove Press and Pharaoh’s Star, published by Triplicity Publishing in 2014.

Vera Jane Cook Reviews Anna Quindlen’s Still Life With Breadcrumbs

I love when an older woman is the main character in a book, which is the case in Quindlen’s novel, Still Life With Breadcrumbs. She could have been writing about me. Of course she wasn’t but could have been. I live in New York City and go to the Catskills quite a bit though I’m not at the point of considering a permanent move upstate, like Rebecca, Quindlen’s main character. But I do love the Catskills. There is something about those funky little towns that makes me feel good, gives me a sense of freedom, maybe because I’m always there on the weekends. But aside from that, there’s something about that slow turn into Callicoon, New York, over the railroad tracks to the Main Street. The simply unbelievable restaurant finds, the farmer’s markets, the twists and turns of a country road, the social gatherings over dinner and white wine. There’s also something about the stillness and the peace that attracts me. New York City really doesn’t attract me, I just feel I have to be here. I have to work and I have to have a job and it seems like the only place for me to find a job is Manhattan, where I grew up. I grew up believing myself to be wealthy. Perhaps I really was wealthy, brought up with Nannies and prep schools on the perfectly well coiffed Upper East Side. Rebecca was wealthy too, like me. But then the money faded so she rented a house up in those mountains so she could rent out her city apartment. Money was there and then it wasn’t kind of thing. I went through that too. I still think of myself as wealthy in some obtuse sort of way but I know I’m not anymore. What a shocker that is.

Anyway, I loved this book is really what I want to say. I loved the main character, the love interest, the dog and all the people that were in her life. I loved what happened to her life and if I may repeat myself, I loved the way it was written, just in case I haven’t said that. Quindlen is a very fine writer. Her prose falls off the page like the snow that ambles off a tree limb and lands so softly on the ground. There is a compelling pull to follow the fall, like Quindlen’s prose. She is an honest writer. I’ve loved her since her days at the New York Times but this was my first book of fiction by Anna Quindlen. It won’t be my last. She has written a strong female character in this beautiful book with survival skills beyond her expectations, and mine. I do recommend you read it. It’s a feel good book with some surprises and a whole lot of heart.