My women’s fiction novel, Levels of Truth, begins with the simple word, “Home.” A very emotive word, which often generates images and memories. What picture first enters your mind?
Although I have lived most of my adult life in New Jersey, “home” evokes the image of a white frame house in Brecksville, Ohio—my home from birth to age fifteen.We had acres of property, a woods 2 miles deep behind us, a dairy farm down the street and a small apple orchard in the side yard.
Yes, I was an Ohio hayseed. I had woods in which to hide, reflect and plot my first book. (One written about horses at age 10) I picked blackberries with my father and helped him seed and harvest an acre garden.Our apple orchard became a refuge—I climbed trees stretched out on a limb accordingly so I could escape chores and read uninterrupted.
I rode horses, competed in horse shows, was a member of 4-H. Also, I wrote an article for Horse and Show Journal, a tri-state horse newspaper and was hired as a staff writer. Later, the editor discovered I was fifteen. He became my first writing mentor teaching me about “the hook,” writing deadlines and sentence structure.
The newest National Park, Cuyahoga Valley, is in Brecksville and is also a place where I played. I want to go back, explore the National Park and kayak the Cuyahoga River (currently it is not open for kayaking, but I can hope.)
Ohio is still part of my heart.
.To our children, “home” brings images of our Vineland house. The house, built in 1862, had “friendly spirits,” a large backyard, a scary attic, a library with a fireplace surrounded by floor to ceiling bookshelves and a huge family kitchen. All have memories of hide-and-seek, constant renovations and repairs (old house!), large parties, and plenty of space for a big family.
What about you? What comes to mind with the word, “Home?” Does one place still have a piece of your heart? What is home for your main character? How does your character react to “home?” What clues could you plant to show how your character’s childhood home influenced him or her?
In Levels of Truth, Caroline returns to the house in which she was born. Her personal journey centers on her definition of home and family