Journal

MY FAVORITE OFFICE

OVERBOARD ON ROANOKE SOUND:  MY FAVORITE OFFICE. Some people hang out at the proverbial water cooler in their high-rise offices, a welcome escape from their cubicles. Lucky me, (truly, so lucky) I might be found in my office watching the sun rise over the ocean. My...

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THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL

THE WRITING'S ON THE WALL. House renovations in 2014 set me free to paint, in giant letters, some of my favorite quotes from beloved writers such as Virginia Woolf on the walls of my house on Roanoke Island. "The day waves yellow with all its crops," evokes such...

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APOLOGIES TO THE TREES

WITH APOLOGIES TO THE TREES. Maybe it's because I was teaching myself to write fiction, and wasn't very good at it. Or I was just a perfectionist. Or I was unable to see what I needed to see on a computer screen after so many years of editing others' work on paper....

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FROM MY HAND TO YOURS

FROM MY HAND TO YOURS. Much of Between Tides was handwritten. Since my days at The Coastland Times, writing feature stories, I've found that my most creative work often flows from a pen, not from a keyboard. Equally compelling, though, has been the freedom to write...

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NOT EVERYTHING IN MY OFFICE IS A MESS…

NOT EVERYTHING IN MY OFFICE IS A MESS. FIVE FILING cabinet drawers, along with a 600-record database in my computer, contain in a fairly organized fashion, what I know, along with all I've forgotten--what went into the writing of Between Tides. Hour upon hour of...

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WORDS STACKED ON TOP OF OTHER WORDS

DRAFTS OF BETWEEN TIDES ARE PILED ATOP MY grandmother's dictionary. A foot thick, the dictionary is too big to set on my desk, so it's found a home on the floor of my study. I found it in the barn at my grandparents' house in Suffolk, Virginia, and asked if I could...

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AYCOCK BROWN TOLD ME HOW…

AYCOCK BROWN, beloved Outer Banks publicist, photographer, author, and historian, told me how as a young man he used to draw scenes in India ink on seashells and sell them to tourists down on Ocracoke. I asked him if he'd draw one for me. He obliged. I took this...

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HOW MANY BOOKS DOES IT TAKE TO WRITE A BOOK?

Apparently, a lot. I wrote journal after journal, filled with ideas about my characters, observations on nature, other writers, and big chunks of the novel itself. Here's a pile of my handwritten pages in Moleskine notebooks. Then there were the books I read,...

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