I recently read and enjoyed Adeline, a small but moving book, almost a memoir, an essay on life and its narrow winding path, and growth in maturity and spirituality. I asked Mary Ann to talk about how this book came about.
by Mary Ann Hayes
The story of Adeline has been playing in my head for so many years, I can’t even say how long. It takes place at a mountain lake in Northern Idaho where I spent my summers growing up, exploring nature with my two sisters and four brothers. There was, and still is, something magical about the place: the old cabin my dad threw together with materials scavenged from buildings one step away from the wrecking ball, the giant evergreens towering everywhere, the massive mountain arms surrounding our small body of water.
Things happened there that have stayed with me my whole life. My brother Jim died of cancer and spent the final days at our lake. His death, the significance of losing him, is depicted in the character Beanie.
The old woman Adeline herself is who I’ve always hoped I would be by the end days of my life, a person who has learned the impact and necessity of love and forgiveness. A woman who is a combination of those who shaped my life and taught me to value what is real and honest and good.
The story of the mountain lion came from a night we had an unexpected visitor on the patio outside the cabin door. The terrifying screams of the huge cat are unforgettable yet absolutely wonderful at the same time.
The mountain stream is one we would follow way up and deep into the forest to check on our water line. It was and still is our water supply for the cabin.
The actual road leading to the lake is not treacherous, yet it is windy and narrow in places. It has always been a reminder to me that life is a narrow winding road we need to travel on with patience, alertness, and awareness.
I began by listing the important things I knew needed to be included in the story such as the willows, the channel, the road, and of course the bridge. I let the character of Adeline stroll through my mind as she made her way from the start to the finish, listening, and then writing down her thoughts and memories. Her memories are, of course, the memories I have when I am there, especially now as I get older.
Once I had an outline down on paper, and I knew I’d left nothing of significant importance out, I couldn’t stop writing. It just flowed! I hope I can write another story like Adeline some day. It was a dream for me.
Finding a publisher was the trick. After careful research, I sent my manuscript to Tate Publishing and Enterprises. They are one of the largest Christian publishers in the country and although Adeline is not a religious story, it certainly is spiritual. It was a pleasure working with them.
Mary Ann Hayes lives on an island in Washington State with her husband of thirty-five years and two dogs.
She says, “My passion for writing stems from a love for the English language. Words are amazing. They are strong and powerful and must be used with consideration. Words can make or break a life, the power in their use is so great. Naturally, a love of words leads me to be an avid reader. A good novel on a rainy day is like rich dark chocolate and a fresh cup of coffee. It doesn’t get much better.”
Mary Ann has also written A Friend Like Frank, a contemporary women’s novel, a bit of a romantic comedy, which is available in paperback and as an e-book through Amazon, or autographed through her website, http://www.maryannhayes.com She has a sequel due out soon, The Trouble with Tony.