July 30, 2013


As a writer, I've learned to be on the lookout for those serendipitous signs that might lead me to a new book idea or unstick me from a plot point I've gotten hung up on. It might come in a bit of a overheard conversation. I might come across an article or photograph that meshes with what I'm writing--or planning to write. Sometimes a dream--mine or someone else's--connects.

I know along the way I’ve missed some of those signs. Often I’ve neglected to make a written note about them, sure that I'd remember. Years ago, that might have worked, but now I'm less and less skillful at recalling even the most significant markers of my day.

For some reason unclear to me, I've begun to think more and more about a sequel for WHISPER ISLAND. It might be because I've become attached to Primmy and her independent character. I want to see where her free spirit takes her. At the same time, I've learned more and more about a dramatic, heroic rescue of the British tanker Mirlo off the shores of Rodanthe during World War I.

I'm now in the middle of a historical novel set in Kansas City during that "war to end all wars."

Serendipity has struck again! I've already done a lot of research about the war and I now know--and love--much of the history of the Outer Banks and ocean rescues. My research efforts could mesh in a sequel about Primmy six years after WHISPER ISLAND's story. I knew that she still would be kept from joining the Coast Guard (formerly the US Life-Saving Service), but I need to get her to Rodanthe as a seventeen-year-old young woman. What could she do for a living? What profession do I know most about? Teaching. Hard to imagine feisty Primmy as a schoolmarm, but I think she'd be spectacular!
"It's right across the road, Anola."

When I mentioned this idea to James Charlet, "keeper" of the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Historic Site, he pointed across the road. "That's the schoolhouse that would have been here in 1918." The building has been added to to create a community hall, but the central structure remains.

A sure sign that Primmy's story will continue!

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