Last week, I finished final edits on my novel, The Harvest. When I started the Emerging Artist program, my goal was to finalize a novel that I could submit to my agent. I didn’t know if I would be able to start from scratch and get something finalized, but after speaking with my mentor, Sheree, about what to work on, the words came pretty quickly.
It’s surreal to have a finished novel for this project. As I talked about in earlier blogs, the setting for this novel came from a trip I made to Maine, where I stayed on a blueberry farm with a friend. It was fall at the time and the weather was perfect. I wanted to stay much longer.
Section from The Harvest:
It’s right outside his wood shed, a small red thing with dirty windows. The drizzle is less here, as I’m shaded by a dense collection of trees. Instead, the mist hangs around me, suspended. I squat, looking at the dirt. There are a few crushed twigs and broken leaves. I follow them until I find a footprint several feet away. I take a few pictures and email them to Lee to review. They seem about the same size as the ones from the pictures Harvey showed me. Someone small and slender and someone else who is quite tall.
I continue to case the area, the Hound following close behind me. I look for traces of blood, pieces of clothing that might be left behind. I get deep into the woods before the Hound begins to growl. I stop, listening. I get that sensation like I did in the kitchen at the café, like someone is watching me from far away.
Slowly, I reach down and unholster my gun from my ankle. My body feels like I’ve aged a hundred years. It’s tight and tense. The Hound continues to growl. When I look at him, the hair on his back has become ridged, a thin line that travels all the way up to his neck.
I pause, listening, but all the sounds in the woods are muted. Then I swing a slow circle, checking all around me. I try to catch any signs of movement but it’s all still. No one within eyeline.
“Hush,” I tell the dog.
This novel is about a lot of things, but mostly it is about realizing that we are all a bit of light and dark, that most people are good and do bad things every once in a while. It is about ghosts and hauntings and lingering on the things that hurt us. I’m very excited and grateful to have been given the opportunity to work on this piece through Creative Pinellas. And I’m very grateful to Sheree for her advice, guidance, and edits.