A theme in fiction sums up the essence of a story and projects the gist of what you’re writing. It’s a few words that describe the concept to someone else, perhaps an agent. Samantha Stone’s “Top 10 Types of Story Themes” resonated with me. It helped me define my theme.
One of my readers commented on www.amazon.com that: “I enjoyed the subject matter very much, as psychological abuse is not addressed very often. The author (k.a. libby) is very good at describing her surroundings and soon you are knee deep in suspense and intrigue.” So it seems that “Beware the Sleeping Dog” fits the criteria for a mystery, at least as far as one reader is concerned! (Thank you, S. Ande.) But beyond that it is the story of a woman seeking atonement for a past mistake … her journey from guilt to retribution to forgiveness.
Professor Mavis Walker addressed her feelings of guilt thusly:
Perhaps I should focus on my own psyche before I tried to solve another’s problems. Therein lay the conundrum for me: how could I even consider giving advice to someone else as long as I was struggling to find my own peace? Yet, it was the work I did with my students that helped me believe in my own worthiness.
As to retribution, she said:
I’d earned my way back into my own good graces by standing up to him. I’d confronted my fear and walked away with my pride intact.
I’d faced my nemesis and gained strength and confidence in the process. I thought with satisfaction that no one could take that away from me.
And lastly, she embraced forgiveness:
Alice asked, “Do you feel better now?”
I said, “I do. I can finally forgive him.”
“And yourself? Can you forgive yourself?”
I thought about this for a moment. I wasn’t sure it was as much about forgiving myself as it was about accepting that it was a part of my past. I was ready to put it all behind me and move on. I said, “Yes.”
An ‘aha’ moment for me was when I discovered Kindle is software not just an e-reader. Probably everyone else in the world–especially YOU!–were almost born knowing this. Despite my best efforts to avoid any thoughts about the nuances of software, my role as publicist and entrepreneur is pushing me into it, once again with much gnashing of my teeth. I now understand that anyone can download a “free Kindle reading app” by searching on that phrase and then executing and running the program on a PC or Mac; through Kindle Cloud; or for an iPad or an Android or Windows 8. Once again you probably already knew that. But me, with my Comp Sci degree and 7 years’ experience as a programmer in my previous life, hadn’t a clue. It’s a good thing for me that my husband Wayne Reidinger has the patience of Job! Writing my Maine mystery–despite the years’ of effort–apparently was the easy part. Marketing is not just a chapter in the process … it’s a whole book unto itself.
When I moved back to mid-coast Maine, my life seemed perfect. I’d slammed the door on my not-so-recent past and left my troubles behind. Or so I thought until my mechanic shattered that illusion. She told me there was a global positioning device mounted inside my Jeep’s left front wheel well. Apparently someone was tracking me.
Suddenly the strange things that had happened to me over the past few days—and that I’d dismissed as coincidence or just plain bad luck—didn’t seem so random. The GPS was intentional and personal.
Ginny Mihalik, Academic Counselor/Professor, Schnecksville, PA: “I loved “Beware the Sleeping Dog”. Loved it! Please keep writing. You have a special talent of storytelling, of building characters, and describing scenes so carefully that I can smell the cold, feel the sting, and hear the slightest breeze move the branch. Thank you. What a treat it was! I can’t wait for the next one.”