Award-winning author Patricia Bossano jumps on The Bandwagon to share her writing journey.
Patricia grew up in Ecuador, South America and moved to the United States in the mid 1980’s to pursue a career in International Sales, as well as work as a translator, interpreter and instructor in Spanish.
“Write what you know”, we’re told time and time again. I’m not sure we have the final word on where this quote originated; some say Mark Twain, others Ernest Hemingway. Regardless of the author, everyone seems to have taken issue with its meaning, trying to decide whether it’s good or bad advice. After all, if we wrote only about things we know, my guess is fiction wouldn’t even exist.
The first time I came across “write what you know” my reaction was that it was a true statement for non-fiction as well as fiction writers. The former are the biographers, chroniclers, historians, and manual writers of the planet, while the latter go on to know their heart and mind and can write volumes based off their imagine. As a result, exciting new realms of literature emerge from dreams, nightmares, visions, and over-active imaginations.
When I set out to write my first novella, my intent wasn’t to produce a full-length novel, much less a trilogy. I merely wanted to entertain people in my family through storytelling. The central idea for the plot was the relationship between two girls and their mothers. Since the target audience was a new generation of girls in my family, I placed the two main characters in a magical realm under circumstances that would test their bond while challenging their strengths and abilities.
I also wanted to write something that was readily believable, so I chose to incorporate family names to make it easier for them to identify other family members. However, I had to rethink that approach as soon as evil witches and bad faeries came into play, so I changed the names to protect the innocent, but I held on to the family’s ancestry (Spanish, Italian, and a little French).
Still determined to write a realistic fantasy, I searched the globe for the right locale and landed with the Western Pyrenees, a range of mountains that form a natural border between Spain and France. The Pyrenees are known for their remote and nearly inaccessible location, which allowed me to tuck my characters away until circumstances forced them to acknowledge the world beyond (very much like my childhood in Ecuador, comparatively removed from civilization).
I also magnified and fictionalized certain features of the natural world, like the size of the full moon, or what might lurk behind a waterfall, so that I could blend reality with magic. I simply wanted to make my family grin while wondering if my story held any truth. I wanted them to look around and say to themselves, “So and so could be a faery” or “I could be a faery!”
With the publishing process underway for Faery Sight, a story set in the 1800’s, I began jotting down serious notes for another book—one that would involve two girls again (sisters this time) who are confronted with a family secret. But it wasn’t until Faery Sight was published in 2009 that I saw how the second story could work as a sequel. I lightly re-structured the chapters I had already outlined, and in 2013 Cradle Gift emerged as the story of a descendant of the main character in Faery Sight, a couple hundred years into the future.
Nahia, the third installment in the faerie series, hovered in the horizon as early as 2012. The character of Nahia is the common denominator in both chronicles, and through her we learn what happened in the two centuries between one matriarch and the other.
The bit of magic I experienced in this faerie journey was that at the onset of Faery Sight and post-publication, I had no idea Nahia was on her way. As I set out to develop her story, (with fingers crossed), I discovered that the facts and omissions in Faery Sight, and the applicable references in Cradle Gift mystically aligned. This realization made me think back to what a seer told me a couple of years ago, which was that my family on my mother’s side had been guardians of a forest in ages past. He said my stories were not made up; rather they were “recollections” of my family’s life in another time and dimension. And I wholeheartedly believe that.
I didn’t set out to write a trilogy, but I can now see how it was there all along, and in doing so, the journey from writing Faery Sight to Cradle Gift to Nahia has been nothing short of pure magic.