I started The Shadows At Their Feet as an exercise — an attempt at a modern fairy tale short story. However, as has happened in the past, I found that I had a hard time keeping a short story short. An attempt at a 15-20 page story expanded into 80. Then, after having friends read the story, I found myself unable to defend why some of the secondary characters — mainly Adeline, the waitress/hostess — was woefully underdeveloped.

So, as another challenge, I took it upon myself to write a sequel to the novella, this time focusing on her as the main character. This was the first time I wrote anything substantial from a woman’s perspective, and found that a challenge in itself. Could I create a compelling female protagonist who wasn’t solely driven by the men in her life, while also keeping in line with the fairy tale theme. Thus, Adeline’s story of ogres, family curses, and blue roses was born.

What do you do with a 200-page book? It isn’t quite a novel, isn’t quite a novella. Why, you write a third story and call it a day. A year later and I had completed the detective’s tale. Unlike the other two stories, however, I decided to tackle the noir genre. And unlike the first two stories, this time the story took place in the past, and offer some more explanation to some of the mysteries in the rest of the story (and also introducing a few new ones).

I capped the whole thing off with an actual short story. I felt like I couldn’t leave poor Alejandro out to dry. He deserved more, so he gets a short ghost story to give closure to his role in the tale.

The final challenge, however, was realizing that the first story was written in the present tense, while the rest of the writing was in the past. So, yup, I had to go through the first story and convert it grammatically into the past tense. I can tell you that this might have been the most mind-numbing editing activity I have ever had the pleasure of carrying out. Please, remember, if you are going to ever write a sequel story to an existing tale, please keep the tense the same as the original.

Anyway, from a short story, I now have novel. It only took eight years and countless hours of writing, reading, and editing. I am pleased to announce that the final draft is nearly complete and should be available in February of this year. I hope everyone enjoys the story as much as I enjoyed writing it — I hope you enjoy the characters, feel their struggles, and are as enthralled in the strange world of the story as I have been.

Patching something together

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