Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Is Life Stranger Than Fiction?

Is life stranger than fiction? It depends on who's talking because each person has a different answer.
In March of 2014, this upside down rainbow appeared in the sky above our house. I saw it through our skylight. I'd never seen anything like it before. If I told you what I saw, you'd think I made it up. But it was real. It's actually called circumzenithal arcs. Normal rainbows are caused when light refracts through raindrops, mist, or even sea spray. The upside down rainbows are caused by ice crystals in the air, not rain. Pretty strange? Not if you're a scientist.

Here's a double rainbow, a little more common but still unusual. It was taken in August 2015 outside the Snow Library in Orleans, MA. Double rainbows are formed when sunlight is reflected twice inside the raindrops. The second rainbow usually sits outside the first and looks dimmer. Because of the angle of the reflection, the second rainbow appears with the opposite color scheme to the first.

 Why am I writing about weird rainbows? It's just a segway into what I really want to write about, which is... Are my stories beyond fiction? Do characters in my novels resemble me and my life? Of course they do.

Let's start from the beginning. Did my husband, Tim, and I uproot our three teenagers from their birth home when we turned forty and move across country to Cape Cod like Nancy Caldwell did in The Old Cape House?  Yes, except she had four children and then one more came when they arrived on the Cape.  In actuality, I had two more children when we moved here and I was over forty years old. That's even our house on the cover of the book.

Some of my readers think that my present day character, Nancy Caldwell, is beyond fiction and totally unrealistic. How can a stay at home mom raise five children with only the support of a husband who's an artist? Well, I did.

Tim has been a professional artist for over 35 years. I may have stayed home but always worked as his accountant, business manager, and PR person. We continue to be a good team and our daughter Heather, has owned Struna Galleries – Chatham for the past eighteen years, helping us keep the business in our family.

Have I had nannies and housekeepers over the years like Nancy Caldwell? Yes, I hate to clean.

Did I ever find treasure like Nancy Caldwell? It depends on what treasure means to you. I've never found diamonds, jewels, or pieces of eight. But I did find the wreckage of an old 20th century ship.

                                              An old boot from 1900 with a wooden heel.

                                                    It had a lot of teeth marks all over it.

                                                          The carcass of a whale.

      I've dug up a toy gun from 1940, just like Nancy Caldwell did in The Old Cape House.

On the Brewster tidal flats, I found a beautiful blue flowered pottery shard. This find actually sparked my imagination for the second novel, The Old Cape Teapot.

These shards and old pipe stems are my treasures.

Can you still find treasure? Yes. Here's a link to an archived blog about treasure.

Can you still find treasure?

For those of you who doubt my characters and their actions and think they aren't believable, I want to tell you that many plot points come from real events or people I've met in my life. Finally, I like to live my life following the proverbial saying, 'what if' or 'it could happen'! I guess I'll always want to open that door, look inside the box, or take that first step into the unknown...that's what makes everything interesting.