- Full Name:
- Where I live:
- Years Writing:
Five or More Years
- Primary Goal:
- Type of Project:
- Fiction Genre:
Serious Women's F
- Number of Words:
- Breakout Title:
WHEN A FAMILY TURNS GREEN
Louise Erdrich's LaRose, Elizabeth Stout's My Name Is Lucy Barton, Jamaica Kincaid's My Brother
- Publication Creds:
- Other Creds:
Belong to a Writer Group
- Synopsis (novel / nf):
Isabel Gold, a Connecticut Yankee, IBM analyst is in the process of mourning her husband when her eldest daughter, Myka, a hand surgeon, announces she is giving up her life in Philadelphia in favor of rural Jamaica as the wife of an organic farmer. Isabel is stunned and argues with Myka. When the moves doesn't happen, she believes the plan has been abandoned and she continues to enjoy her first grandchild. Three years later, when the sale of Myka's home occurs, Isabel must cope with the reality of her daughter's relocation but vows to get her to return to the States. She travels to Jamaica for the birth of Myka's twins horrified by primitive living conditions, poverty and cultural differences. If her Jamaican son-in- laws construction of a monolithic dome house succeeds, she fears her family will make roots in Jamaica yet she is caught up in the success of this project. How will she reconsile the conflict within her and find peace when tragedy occurs?
- Writer Organization:
Working On It
- Your Bio:
MSW, LCSW by day, writer by night. Having heard many people's stories, I find some of them to be compelling enough to write about in novel form. I've written one about Stolen Identity, another dealing with the plight of Undocumented Hispanics. This current manuscript was inspired by the change in family dynamics when one member chooses an alternative lifestyle.
- Your Writing Life:
I often feel odd when a friend asks me to do something and i say that I have to listen to a certain character today because he or she has so much to tell me. Writers are different, so I embrace it.
- Your Career Goals:
I would like to learn enough about the commercial market and its requirements to prepare a sale worthy manuscript I am proud to offer.
- Inspiration for Work?:
My work has had social justice themes and contemporary lifestyle challenges as themes.
- Reading Now?:
Louise Erdrich, Elizabeth Stout, Elizabeth Gilbert, T.C Boyle, Smith Henderson, Barbara Kingsolver
- Manuscript Type:
- Working Title(s):
WHEN A FAMILY TURNS GREEN
- Hook Line:
Isabel Gold, is shocked to learn that her eldest daughter, Myka, has decided to give up her career as a hand surgeon and move to rural Jamaica to live on an organic farm. She argues against relocation but must deal with the reality of it fighting to convince her daughter to abandon green living and return home.
- Conflict + Stakes:
Isabel sees Jamaica as primitive, dangerous and physically demanding whereas her daughter views it as a place to establish a green lifestyle off the grid. When hardships challenge, each family member displays a different response highlighting their conflicting goals:
- The Protagonist:
Isabel has mourned the death of her husband and can't afford the emotional loss of her daughter, son-in-law and grandchild. They have reconnected her to living and she fears her life will shrink with their departure. Relocation signals abandonment and Isabel vows to insure their return to the States.
- The Antagonist:
Myka has demonstrated herself to be a bright, goal oriented woman who achieved her initial professional aim: to become a hand surgeon. Suddenly, she announces a different goal has entered her life requiring relocation to Jamaica to live on an organic farm purchased with her Jamaican husband. Living a green lifestyle has superseded her initial goal and she is determined to make it happen.
- Other Characters:
Jake, a Rasta gardner with a machete, presents as a threat to Isabel and her granddaughter but morphs into a person who challenges Isabel's beliefs of worthiness. Cosmo, a permaculture expert and agronomist, suffering from synesthesia, intrudes on Isabel with his support and encouragement for the organic farm and a green lifestyle. She has trouble dismissing his analysis and expertise.
- Unique World:
The setting for this novel, Jamaica, is unfamiliar to many readers. While they many know the resort areas, they many not have any idea of what life is life in rural Jamaica and what the culture, food, beliefs and religious ceremonies are like. In addition, the type of housing constructed by Isabel's son-in-law, a monolithic dome, may add to the reader's curiosity and learning curve.
- Climax and Denouement:
Isabel's fears are justified when her grandson goes missing. The setting is fraught with inherent physical danger which she anticipates and her daughter doesn't. The way in which Myka finally understands her mother's concerns leave both mother and daughter imprinted forever.
- Your Opening :
The words rushed into her ear with enough impact to dislodge a small, shiny knife from her hand that fell, plunk, into the kitchen sink. She watched it topple into the rivulet of beet juice staining the basin.
“You’re planning to do WHAT?” Isabel said, louder than intended, fumbling with the cell phone, nearly dropping a dishtowel streaked red like her fingernails. She loved the hemorrhaging vegetable, but her daughter’s revelation obliterated its intensity. It left her bent over the sink with her mouth agape, frozen in position.
“I told you we’re moving to Jamaica” Myka repeated, and then continued without a pause. “The baby slept for seven hours so I’ve had energy today instead of dragging myself around sleep deprived.”
At that moment, a thickening fog descended to cloud Isabel’s mind. It floated in mysteriously from the summit of once visited Aspen Mountain. Lost amid the imagined vapor, she stumbled through Myka’s verbal disclosure searching for its truth. Could her words be genuine delivered with the nonchalance of a woman making a three-block relocation?
. “Nobody can blame you for what happened,” Isabel said, watching him torture himself.
“I blame me,” Nobody else has to. I’m the reason. I fell asleep and the whole project is ruined.”
“You were tired.”
“That doesn’t excuse my failure to monitor it, to insure its success, to prevent a disaster. It only points to incompetence.
Again, he smacked his hand against his leg mumbling something in Jamaican patois Isabel didn’t understand. He looked like a hurt little boy just like Lucas
Isabel had never heard Camron speak with self- condemnation. He was always the even- tempered, undefeatable man who tackled giants on the football field and interior designs with ease.
- Writing Samples:
She embraced her and felt Myka’s body shaking, a slight tremor that affected her entire core.
“Mom, they’re making me crazy demanding Davina stay under the lights but I want to go home.” Inside the statement was the sound of a little girl, pleading.
“What did the doctor say?”
“He’s got some crazy idea that Davina should be here until the bilirubin level is in the normal range. But we have the rest of the kids to think about and staying is unnecessary.”
Myka’s face looked like wooden framing covered up with drywall. There was no getting to her.
“You think it’s safe to take her home?”
“Yes, of course. They’re just backward here. Bilirubin is the by-product of red cells breaking down. They’re excreted in the stool and the count usually goes down. But Davina is taking longer to do this that’s all.
If they’re so backward, why do you want to live here? It would have served Myka right if she said that out loud. But she couldn’t, not now. “You’re the mother and Camron’s the father” was all she said.
Myka looked at her husband and they seemed to come to an unspoken understanding.