Although the first draft of my novel has been completed for some months now, I am still very much in the process of editing, gathering new information, and just generally attempting to make it the best book it can be. This has only been accomplished sporadically, however – the nerd in me makes sure that schoolwork comes first.
Ancestry and heritage have become the driving force in my Creative Writing class this semester, so it was only natural that they should come out in my personal writing, as well. The idea of lineage has popped up in the minds of my characters, and they have now begun their own exploration. But the plot had already been set more than a year ago – the theme of the book written down and sent out to literary agents. These characters were only supposed to look for minor details and a bit of new information – certainly not make major discoveries.
So it came as a shock (and a bit of disbelief) to realize that my life, and that of one of my characters, had come to a collision.
Last night I sat researching the location where Mary Bliss Parsons, the Witch of Northampton, had been born. I knew she was an immigrant to the New World, arriving with her family in Plymouth when she was very small, and immediately making her way to their new home in Massachusetts. The Parsons family had sailed from Gloucestershire, England, where Mary’s parents had been born and later married at St. Patrick’s church.
Looking up further information on Gloucestershire, I soon found a large amount of picturesque photos, all depicting homes and pastureland in the Cotswolds of England. One in particular caught my attention. It looked so familiar, as if I had seen it before. Glancing at the caption written below, I saw the words “Bibury, Gloucestershire, England.” Bibury – the birthplace of one of the main characters in my book.
But I had selected Bibury as this character’s home more than a year before. At that time I had not even begun to think about my ancestry, and would have had no knowledge of Mary Bliss or her hometown. Was it simply a coincidence? Or did something within me recognize Bibury, wanting my character to hail from this particular location? Regardless of the reason, my life had now been linked to that of my fictional character, forming a bond that a mere pen never could.
Perhaps I will find more connections such as this. I am certainly not one to ignore relevant information, and will now have to find a way to add a new element to my book. Two seemingly unrelated characters may discover they have family ties. Or perhaps an ancestor’s memories will make their way into the mind of someone in the present day.
Perhaps this discovery has been the sole reason for the stall in my progress of the book. Providence – I’ll take it.