The Release of Field of Daisies
Many people have asked me how I started writing fiction and why I choose this topic.
After years of writing occasional articles for magazines, Huntington House published my first full length work Don’t Touch That Dial . A research book in layman’s language, it contained the findings of the country’s top 25 researchers on the harms of sexual and violent media on children and the family. It was at that time that I began thinking how many more people would read a work of fiction on the subject than would plow through a research book.
I was fortunate to know the very successful author Davis Bunn. He encouraged me to try my hand at writing fiction and urged me to spend the time needed to fully learn the craft of writing. After completing one novel, he urged me to set it aside and start another. Field of Daisies, recently released by OakTara Publishers, is that novel.
A very strong personal experience with Alzheimer’s motivated me to write this story. Three generations of my family suffered from the disease and I experienced the terrible fear that many people have that I would be next. I have written this book to bring hope to people like me who battle that fear.
I decided to place the story on a farm in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania. The farm is a real place. I spent many happy summers there and experienced many of the delights described in the book. I have dedicated the book to my grandparents who, for a time, were caretakers on the farm. Their characters are real. Many times as a child, when I arrived at the farm, I ran into my grandmother’s outstretched arms. Two homemade apple pies always sat cooling on kitchen window sills. The enticing mélange of cooked apples, cinnamon, and sugar welcomed me as had her warm embrace. Homemade noodles drying on wooden racks covered every free space on the kitchen counters and promised me that Grandma would prepare my favorite dinner: beef noodle soup. Unfortunately the skill was lost with her, but I am happy to have recorded it for all my children and grandchildren to savor.
Before going to bed, Grandma and Grandpa always sat at the kitchen table and had a piece of pie and a cup of coffee together while they reviewed their day. Sharing those special times is one of my fondest memories. Having grown up with parents who traveled much of the time, my grandparents’ marriage was the model I most admired and wanted to copy.
The romance between Andrea and Lans Mulder is pure fiction, but writing about their enjoyment of the farm as they were falling in love allowed me to relive those happy days and to experience again the fun of jumping in the hay loft, of swinging on a rope into the middle of the winding creek that encircled the farm, of visiting the shaded woods to pick long stemmed daisies of many colors, and of galloping through the field of daisies as they sparkled in the sun.
My horse Dolly was real as well. Originally I began the book with Andrea discovering her in the barn on her ninth birthday, just as I had done. But a friend told me it seemed like a child’s book, so I deleted that chapter and started with Andrea and Lans in the middle of their lives.
The generations of Alzheimer’s were drawn from my family experience. It is a sad subject, but very real to ever increasing numbers of families. I have tried to mix the delights of the farm with the more serious scenes of debilitating Alzheimer’s. My purpose in writing the book was to give hope to people, not only who have Alzheimer’s in their family, but who have any number of recurring generational problems: other diseases, physical and emotional abuse, addictions, even recurring divorces in generation after generation.
The most exciting discovery of my life was that the Bible tells us that it is God’s pleasure to pass on blessings from generation to generation rather than the terrible curses that came upon the people of Israel when they disobeyed Him. It is my hope that that truth will remain with my readers long after they have set aside my book.