I stumbled upon my writer’s voice this week. You may assume that if one is a writer, then they must certainly know what their voice is. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Even after finishing my first novel, I couldn’t have told you what my voice was as a writer.
What is a writer’s voice? In the simplest terms, it’s your unique and distinctive way of looking at the world. Often, it comes from unresolved conflicts of your own or an underlying philosophy of what’s most important about this life we’re living in.
It wasn’t until I decided on my new novel’s story that I had the ah ha moment. The Year of Gwendolyn Presley Flowers has ignited a spark that I was afraid I couldn’t repeat. While the story’s characters are drastically different from those in my first novel, Oldsters, their internal conflicts are not – neither is their method of resolving them.
It is the journey. Both are stories of people who take an external journey in order to accomplish an internal journey. I’ve chosen to tell my own story through my characters. Sometimes when you hit a wall, you have to change your course – physically and mentally. When things aren’t what you want them to be, you simply can’t give up. You may think you want to – but the human spirit inherently pushes you forward.
A simple quote I happened upon brought to life my vision for this new book, and I honor the author of that quote by naming the title character after her. Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize. She was awarded the Prize for poetry in 1950, and thank goodness the internet sometimes leads you into a random valley that produces a gem.
I write stories about people taking journeys – across country, or across the world – in an effort to close something within myself. My voice, my journey.