I’ve been working on a new novel for months, and now, I’m finishing up the final draft. It’s working title is “Something in the Water.” It’s a mystery, in the deepest sense.
The main characters are farmers, tillers of the soil. Boring characters, you say? Well I say, Think again. Put a flashlight on the life of a farmer and his family and you’ll see some mind-blowing action. Ups and downs that would keep Superman on his toes.
I’ve had to research quite a bit for this novel because I don’t live on a farm and didn’t grow up on one, though farming was, and is, a huge part of where I live. I’ve had to research digging wells, irrigation systems, and peanuts; Hydraulic fracturing and Williston North Dakota, the Chattahoochee River and Creek Indian lore, Birmingham, Alabama and steel, the actual sale of human beings and babies–and more. Let me say with humility though, after all the research, I am loving my characters!
I love the older farmer, the steel man, who would stoop as low as he has to, to get what he wants–and does just that when his land and family are threatened,
I love his handsome son, the high-minded man, who marries a woman for convenience and finds he’s not as high as he thinks he is.
I love the handsome man’s boy, who discovers a skull by the nearly-dry river, tucked in the roots of a dying tree—a skull that propels both the steel man and his high-minded son to come to grips with particulars in their flawed natures. I love that skull, too! And that it actually has a voice through other characters.
I love the boy’s new mother, who he hates; and his unusually intuitive younger sister, who he loves.
I love that the characters are so…well, human. I love that they often fail, that they fall hard, and some get back up. That they are wise, and misguided; lovable, and hateful, compassionate, and downright cruel.
What I’ve learned so far in writing this book, is that everyone’s life necessitates Faith, especially a farmer’s.
Faith in the Nature of the Earth, knowing it can put him on the verge of personal destruction through events like floods and droughts–as well as feeding his family and producing food for the world.
Faith in his own Nature as man, realizing he is flawed and can fail–but that he is also strong and resilient.
Faith in God, that He will overshadow with grace and mercy any destruction caused by floods and droughts, human flaws, or failures.
I’ll let you know when it’s completely finished. Until then, here’s a little dirt from around the Chattahoochee.