Secrets of the Flame: Jane Yolen and Finding Yourself in the Story

Sleeping BeautyJane Yolen, one of my favorite authors, once spoke about finding which of her characters represented herself and how that sometimes changes over time.

At a point, I realized Gwendolyn’s the mother I wished to be—openhearted; nurturing; pushing herself into bravery; and trying to be the best mother she can.

But I also had to face her flaws. She’s naive, oblivious even; wants to do it all herself; wants her children to stay her children; and sometimes gets stuff, even important stuff, wrong.Gwen to L

I’m sure you’ve figured out that Strange One, the dragon, represents my son. In the first draft of the book, he was young enough that I could fool myself that the story could have my happy ever after ending.Clay baby dragon

Then: adolescence!my clay dragon

So maybe John Sanford had a point—a bucket of water over the head didn’t sound so shocking.

New perspectives demand change. I rewrote and rewrote . . . and rewrote.

Hubris alert!http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Flame-Protect-Cindy-Schuricht/dp/0989658023/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421705373&sr=1-2

Every author has to answer the question of who is the audience?

My original hope for the story’s audience focused on parents and children who had read together for years.

Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect would be the grand-finale joint bedtime story—a story that helps a parent let go and a child claim his or her independence with grace rather than teenage rage at parental “stupidity.”

See what I mean about hubris?

Hubris confronted.

With all the bookmarks I put in for things I want to remember

With all the bookmarks I put in for things I want to remember

After rethinking Joseph Campbell’s jewel story, my hope is that Secrets of the Flame is an entertaining and exciting practice step for the journey to independence that parents and children take—a journey that starts with the first wobbly cruise around the coffee table.

Joseph Campbell also gave me a way to think about the family story arc. Parents and children bond. To become adults, children must claim their independence, sometimes painful for both kids and parents.

Eventually, something new has to go beyond or transcend the opposites of bonding and breaking apart. This something new has to include both—sacrificing neither the bond nor the independence to the other. Expect a certain degree of backsliding in one or the other, however.

I don’t feel comfortable until I acknowledge that I can’t promise you’ll fall in love with The Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect.

Some people do love it—they’ve told me they read it in one sitting, couldn’t put it down, or it made them laugh and cry. After reading it, some people have purchased more copies for gifts.

Cairns along Shelter Island and San Diego Harbor

Cairns along Shelter Island and San Diego Harbor

Other people have said it’s well-written, but not their cup of tea.

Which will it be for you? Beats me.

So my hope is that the book will find its way to the right people. I hope some of you will try the book and then leave an Amazon review that will help others make a decision about it.

Night blooming epiphyllum

Night blooming epiphyte

Thank you.

Secrets of the Flame: Tell the Story You Want to Hear

Ocean view a bit south of the book store.

Ocean view a bit south of the book store.

Scene: Independent bookstore in old craftsman-style house—old craftsman on a bluff, bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean—perfect browsing from room to room.

I pick up a picture book.

Junge Maus, Harry 20, public domain courtesy of Wikimedia

Junge Maus, Harry 20, public domain courtesy of Wikimedia

 

Subject: A family of small rodents care for an orphaned kitten. The story exemplified love for an “other.” Beautiful illustrations.

I remove wallet from purse.

 

 

Problem: How will the mice care for the kitten when he grows up?

"Black Kitten" by Revital Salomon, also Public Domain courtesy of Wikimedia

“Black Kitten” by Revital Salomon, also Public Domain courtesy of Wikimedia

I race to the end of the story certain this is a book to reread and share with other people, small and large.

Resolution: The people in the house adopt the cat who will purge (the book didn’t use that word) all the small rodents, except his adoptive family, from the house.

I return wallet to purse and book to its stack.

Issue: I can’t buy the theme.

Sometimes if you want something done your way, you just have to do it yourself. So I set out to write the story I wanted to hear. It took a loooong time and I learned something valuable:

Tell the story you think you want to hear to find out where it takes you.

intoMore about Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Quoting Grover again (see previous post), “Oh, I am so excited!” I just couldn’t wait until Monday to say something.

Secrets, pub coverIt’s now on Amazon. The e-book should also be available maybe even at this moment. Starting Monday, I’ll be putting up more information and answering some questions in my posts. Right now I’m just allowing my muscles to relax and adjust to the fact that it’s done. Then comes the hard part.

I’m also celebrating that just this week I learned how to add a link! (See the purple letters. But you probably already knew that.)

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