The Power of Water

A tree - Matthew Keeley - photo

A couple of months ago, I was featured on Linda Hall’s blog as part of a series entitled – Water Blogs. Linda invited authors to describe how bodies of water had influenced their writing. I’m pleased to share my answers with all of you, today.

What are my stories about?

Lives are shaped by the places in which they are lived. My novels are set in a rural landscape and they focus on the vagaries of human relationships. I write fiction to explore the many ways people deal with loss and the challenges of remaking their lives, to delve into the inevitable complications that come about when someone takes the risk of moving forward and to emphasize that rebuilding a life occurs in starts and stops.

My body of water …

I live perched above the shores of a beautiful lake. The body of water in my novels has the fictitious name of Crater Lake. I chose a lakeside setting because as a beginning novelist, I felt it would be useful to have a vivid sense of where my characters lived. After twenty plus years beside my lake, I know it well.

The Lake 2 - Bruce Witzel photo

Does water or bodies of water have any personal significance for you?

Living near water has always been a given in my life. I grew up within a stone’s throw of a mighty river. The fishing fleet chugged up and down and a small ferry made its way across the deceivingly sluggish, brown water. I spent significant holiday time on the shores of a pristine lake. As an adult, I raised my children in a seaside town with the waves of the Pacific Ocean rolling in just beyond the backyard; high and low tides, storms, wharfs, boats, seaplanes and freshly caught fish were everyday occurrences, sights and pleasures. Now, my home is on a cliff above a lake. Always, bodies of water have pervaded my days and nights. I agree with Henry David Thoreau who wrote, “The lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and impressive feature. It is the earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his [or her] own nature.”

If asked to give a Ted Talk, what would mine be about?

The Evolution of a Novel Writer. I have always been a person who wrote – journals, letters and academic articles. My mother wrote as well, but she was a writer of stories. It was as if we had staked out different claims in the world of writing – my mother to create from the heart in the realms of the imaginary and I to write from the head in the real world. Over time, I came to understand the close relationship between our two worlds. The type of nonfiction writing I did was rife with heart and it was obvious my mother’s stories required more than a fair dose of headwork. Even so, I didn’t feel the call to write fiction until my mother had been dead for several years. During my long walks on paths near our home, always within sight of the lake, the small seed of a story began to take root. The leaves on its tender stalk were characters, clustered together and taking shape. Deeply curious, I wanted to know more about them. I started to jot down answers to my questions and from those random musings came my first novel. Everything in my past and present life has become a well to draw upon. I write fiction informed by a lived reality – it is head and heart and soul and I think my mother would be proud.

View of the Cabin - Guenette photo

9 comments on “The Power of Water

  1. Gallivanta says:

    How lovely to have such beautiful connections to water. Your photos embrace Thoreau’s quote. 🙂

    • Thanks so much. It was a great exercise to reflect on Linda Hall’s questions and really think about how being close to bodies of water has influenced me over my life. Naturally, that influence found its way into my writing.

  2. Reblogged this on through the luminary lens and commented:
    Here’s my wife and life partners recent post where she speaks about her novels and how thy relate to water. An added bonus are the photos of the lake and cabin we have lived at for many decades. Enjoy!

  3. Roy McCarthy says:

    Nice post Fran – we know your watery environment so well from your books. Funny, my first 24 years were spent as far away from the sea in Britain you can get. You’d never believe the excitement of the train full of Midlands holidaymakers as we caught our first glimpse of the sea at the start of our annual holidays 🙂

    • Your comment made me chuckle as I pictured all those holiday goers waiting for their glimpse of the sea. Reminds me of a funny story about me and Bruce driving through Yellowstone Park. A big plus of this drive is (supposedly) being able to photograph herds of buffalo right from your car window. We’re driving and pulling over to snap a shot of every lone buffalo we see and commenting, “Well, it’s not exactly a herd, is it?” Finally, a guy passes us and slows down to shout, “You might want to save your stopping for around the next corner.” Yes – indeed – lo and behold – an entire buffalo herd wandering pell mell across the road. Now that was fun.

  4. I love the water and wish that I lived nearer to the sea, though we do have a man made lake nearby in a country park which I like to frequent often. 🙂

    • I’ve been fortunate enough over my life to have my pick of a few bodies of water – ocean, lake, and river. I love my lake but there is something about the ocean. But, I must say, each had its own unique qualities. Many thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  5. Reblogged this on disappearinginplainsight and commented:

    This post appeared on my blog last summer. In celebration of the ebook version of Disappearing in Plain Sight – first book in the Crater Lake Series – being offered free on Amazon, I’m pleased to share an interview that explains how my writing is linked to living near bodies of water.

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