It’s time again to introduce a fellow author to the blog, and I’ve persuaded author/editor extraordinaire Kay Springsteen to join us. Kay is celebrating the release of Watercolors in the Rain, and since it’s totally different from anything she’s previously published I asked her to tell us about it. So here she is!
Watercolors in the Rain is a story that has been a long time getting ready for its public debut. There are a couple of renditions floating around, but the heart of the story has always been the same. It was a story inspired by my many vacations on Mackinac (pronounced MACK-i-naw) Island since the 1980s. I fell in love with everything about the island from the residents and shopkeepers, to the seasonal employees, the unspoiled beauty, the gardens, and so much more (perhaps especially the fudge, chocoholic that I am). In that way, Watercolors in the Rain is kind of a destination romance, since I take the readers very much to the island as well as through the romance of Kyle and Eve.
I am a photographer, myself. Before digital photography became a “thing,” I had a collection of 35-mm cameras and lenses. But because of the old-timey atmosphere of Mackinac Island, I decided I wanted the slower, more emotional art forms of painting and drawing to take center stage. And that meant a ton of research, since I am about as physically artistic as a stone. Luckily, I have an “in” in the art world in the form of one of my twin daughters. From an early age, she displayed not only talent but a desire to create. Now, her creations are not what my characters created, for she was heavily into Anime and also a more modern approach to art in the form of multimedia, but there is a good amount of my daughter in this story nonetheless. Some of my story development hinged upon terms I researched (reading and hours of YouTube videos showing the craft) and some from watching and listening to my daughter. Some come from my photographer’s eye, and things I know about photo composition. And some actually come from my personal journey with writing.
One reader’s favorite quote from the story was said by the male lead, Kyle Sebastian: “Just like everything has a name, everything also has a story to tell. Some long and complicated. Some short and simple. Find the story…and the picture pretty much creates itself.” In my case, I write from multiple levels of inspiration. This particular saying is based on an old Jim Croce song called “I Got a Name.”
Like the pine trees lining the winding road
I got a name, I got a name
Like the singing bird and the croaking toad
I got a name, I got a name
You see, through writing this book, I have decided that art, in all its forms, whether drawing/painting, photography, writing, filming, has a single root: it all exists to document a moment or moments in time, whether that moment is real or exists solely in the imagination of the artist.
I hope you check out my latest release, Watercolors in the Rain, though fair warning to my sweet romance fans, this book does contain adult themes and explicit language.
Please enjoy a family friendly excerpt:
Eve stared at the expanse of white in her lap. Not a mark marred the pristine page of her sketchbook. She looked up at the largeish tree that had been tossed ashore like a matchstick by Lake Superior in one of her fits. The wood barkless, gray and smooth except where it had split by months spent in the water. Only the major branches remained along with the thickest roots.
“What do you see in the tree?” asked Kyle from his seat next to her on the rocky beach.
“Weakness, suffering, death,” she rattled off. What the hell were they doing? He’d parked in a fair-sized parking lot then bypassed a lighthouse and Maritime Museum and led her down to a wind-blown beach. Of the possibly hundreds of tree trunks and stumps littering the beach, he’d chosen one at the water’s edge, with its roots still undergoing a beating by the relentless surf. “It’s a dead tree. I think it was a pine. It has some interesting textures and angles but… it’s just a tree.”
“Hmmm…” He scooted closer, intensifying the warmth she’d already been well aware of. “So you see the tree’s history in terms of its death?”
What else was there? “I don’t…” Squinting, Eve tilted her head and reassessed the driftwood. “…know what you want from me.”
At his impatient snort, she tried to turn but as though anticipating her, Kyle pointed at the tree trunk. “It’s not what I want from you. It should be what you want from you. What. Do. You. See?”
“A. Dead. Tree.”
“Is that what you saw when you drew Arch Rock? Just a rock?”
Arch Rock? That was what this exercise was about? Eve shook her head. “I was just drawing based on the legend I’d heard. You know, kind of… incorporating the story with what I saw.”
“Ahh… Okay, so you need someone else to tell you the story.” He gave a knowing nod. “No imagination for that sort of thing.”
“Now, wait a minute!” Eve bristled, twisting to face him. “I have imagination.”
“Do you…?” In silence, Kyle regarded her through hooded eyes, his gaze flickering between her face and the blank page of her sketchbook. “Then tell the story,” he said so softly the wind whipping off the water nearly stole his words.
Turning back to the tree, Eve studied it from a new perspective. Angling her head in the opposite direction, she took its measure, estimating it to be no more than twenty feet, with maybe another four feet of tangled roots. “Where did you come from?” she whispered. She closed her eyes to center herself the way Kyle had shown her that night on the beach. But instead of opening them right away, she pictured a rocky cliff…
A stand of trees, mixed birch and pine, stood proudly, looking out over Lake Superior, absorbing the sun’s rays, drinking in the mist from the spray of the waves pounding the rocks maybe fifty feet below. And Bert, growing precariously balanced on the edge, his feet rooted not in dirt but in a combination of sifting sand and crumbling rock. How many years had he stood before Lake Superior had worn the cliff away? He’d lost count.