Coming October 2009

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Genesis

I began writing The Manual before I got a true publishing contract for my first novel. A book deal went sour which held up Soon and Very Soon for two years. I had taken a scapel to my novel under the auspices of getting it ready for publication. I was in quandry as to whether I was going to take Soon back to its orginal basis or shop the very new version to other publishers. I was in prayer about it, so in the meantime I toyed with the idea of a new novel.

It began with two seperate and unrelated ideas that eventually gelled into a premise for The Manual. One of which came from Soon and Very Soon. In the very first chapter when the male pastor, Willie Green flashesback to the time he spent chasing romantic love instead of his calling to God's ministry:

The Lord allowed Kay to cross his (Willie) path again as she attended his home church on a Sunday that he preached in his Pastor's absence. This time instead of trying to poesses her, he tried and succeded in saving her soul.

I studied just that short passage over and over as if I hadn't written the words myself. It suggested that his romantic interest somehow blocked his sight of God. Willie had been "churched" all his life. He heard the call from God, yet in still a woman overshadowed that call. He tried to posses her. The word posses sent chills up my spine and reminded me of bitter, stupid and desperate things even I have done in an attempt to call someone mines. I've seen couples so into one another that I could imagine this overshadowing love being a hinderance to one's walk with Christ. I had to explore it in my novel.

I wanted to also explore the brain of a teen aged boy.Daunting, I know. I spent four years treading water as a teacher in the middle schools in a huge Urban school district, hormone central. There I found a frustration and complacency untold. It was an experience that I unsuccessfully tried to recount in a post titled, diary of a middle school teacher in

There were enough wacky scenes and out-of-control behavior stored in my memory bank to write a memoir. I was use to children getting away with murder and parent's condoning their child's behaviosr that one particular incident stood out for me. I remember having a retention conference with a child that I taught English to. His parents sat silent throughout the whole conference seemingly taking in the fact that their child was failing the seventh grade. The father very solemly turned to me and asked, "Can my boy do the work? I mean-mentally. Can he keep up with others in his class?" I told him that he could, but he was choosing not to. That settled it for the mother. She declared to all assembled that she would not pay for summer schhol. That her child was old enough to start taking responsibility, so if he had to stay back, then he would. She told us all that he would just have to start wearing out his own knees and start praying for himself. Of course a variation of this scene makes its way into the pages of The Manual.
I could feel the parents hopelessness, but depsite what either of them had said, I knew their boy would be okay. He had a support system. There were many more prayers to be uttered for him and more conferences they would attend to make sure he was doing what he was suppose to.

I watched there son also the very next year. I knew he liked to sling a few curse words around, and that he had a girlfriend that he liked to kiss by the lockers outside my classroom. He was mannish. I wondered if he got that from his father or his wanna-be grown up friends. Even came by at the end of his eigth grade year to tell me he was finally getting out of middle school.

My characters, Deidre and Andre were born as the parents of this teenaged boy I had to create, DeAndre. As high school sweethearts, Deidre and Andre were ripped apart for eight years after a sudden and painful break-up.Deidre who has grown a hard outer shell because of it has been brought to her breaking point by DeAndre's antics and must come to her ex with help in raising him.