San Francisco Writing for Change conference was last weekend at the Hilton on Kearney and Washington, and as usual these exceptional and diligent organizers provided diverse and inspiring workshops as well as talented and varied presenters and speakers. Although the focus was primarily non-fiction writing with the goal of changing the world, there was a generous amount of cross over for the fiction writer like me, although the category of novels that changed the world was lofty and oh so very inspiring, it was also intimidating.
Such great books and driven authors, Charles Dickens illuminating the dark, dour misuses of children during the industrial revolution, the lonely and ignored souls depicted by John Steinbeck, and Harper Lee’s quiet dignity and resolve in To Kill a Mockingbird. This is the short list, to be sure, of literary giants and the heroic stories they were and are compelled to tell.
Never have I sat down to the mighty keyboard with the sole intention of highlighting a wrong doing or travesty in the human condition, expecting my written words to rally people to political or social action. Originally I believed I was writing entertaining stories about things I loved, horses, hounds, and of course, my medieval fetish for castles and cathedrals. The characters spoke and I listened and wrote.
In the end they told me of injustice and heart ache, solitude and earning, and over and over again, the desire to be heard, and the freedom to choose for oneself has become the resounding theme throughout my books. I invite the reader to explore my characters’ world, their adventures and conflicts, religious convictions and heretical pragmatism, love, lust and the hierarchy of conflicted loyalty: Family, God or crown, hopefully with as much laughter and tears as my characters have shared with me. Rousing entertainment and thoughtful reflection are my deepest wish in writing these stories.