HOW MISTY DREAMS CAME TO BE

by Josephine Strand

People sometimes ask me what inspired me to write Misty Dreams. My response is always: my characters. Richard and Clare came to life long before the plot was even conceived. The story evolved around them as I wrote it. It was my first attempt at a full-sized novel, and I had no concept of how to plot a story. The writing process was one long exercise in perseverance, as well as a learning experience.

Through my teens I wrote short stories that invariably ended up in the waste basket, such was the level of my self-confidence. I began writing longer fiction in my late twenties when I was living in Italy, after my daughter was born. Whether motherhood sprouted an extra creative gene in me or made me more focused, I don’t know, but I started writing with more purpose, often well into the night hours when baby and father were asleep. In between caring for my daughter, housework and helping my husband in his business, I wrote a series of novellas based in a vacation resort in the Southeast of the United States. It was superficial, frivolous stuff, unfit for publication, with just my little Olivetti typewriter and zero editing skills. I wrote because I loved inventing stories.

I may have been on my twelfth book of the series when I realized I had the perfect set of characters for a standalone novel, Richard and Clare. Nobody told me Clare was more commonly spelled Claire in American English. Changing it, alas, was out of the question. I might as well be writing about a different person.  Strange how, when you’ve spent so much time with your characters, they assume a life of their own, becoming almost a part of you. What laid the groundwork for Clare’s and Richard’s story was probably my deep-seated regret for not having been blessed with a sister. Lucky Clare has a sister, albeit not a very nice one (but enough with the spoilers).

Having the perfect characters and a seedling of a plot, I got to writing. I worked on it on and off for a number of years. By then I had a demanding full-time job, spent four hours a day commuting to and from work, and had little time for writing. Still, I persevered. I amassed draft upon draft, shaped and reshaped the plot with the same purpose with which a child remodels the same piece of Play-Doh over and over again until he gets it right. I just couldn’t let it go. What’s more, I enjoyed every moment of it. Nothing gave me more pleasure than editing and seeing my work improve. Something better-sounding or more appropriate would pop into my head and I’d be back at the keyboard. Luckily, computers and word-processing apps had been around for a while by that time. When I was finally somewhat satisfied with the results, I woke up to the realization that the publishing world had changed. The rise of digital content and the self-publishing boom had changed the landscape of the industry. E-books had opened a whole new door of opportunity for writers. Having my book published, was not a utopian dream anymore. Misty Dreams was a long time coming but I enjoyed every moment of the ride and can’t wait to begin my next.

Author: Josephine Strand

Josephine Strand was born in Italy, grew up in South Africa, and is a long-time resident of the United States. She discovered her love of books when she was introduced to her town’s public library at the age of eight. At nine, she gained her English teacher’s praise with her short story The Library at Midnight. She hasn’t stopped writing since, though Misty Dreams is her first published novel. Her travels between the three continents have strengthened her love for the sea and the outdoors. When not writing or absorbed in the latest gripping page-turner, she loves to cook and enjoys long nature walks.

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