“When you’re traveling, you are what you are, right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.”
— William Least Heat-Moon
We are exactly ONE WEEK away from release day of Gypsy of Spirits, the prequel short story to So Fell the Sparrow! It will include a sneak peek at the first couple chapters of SFTS as well as the short story, so I hope you all will enjoy it. The short story will be about Jackie, the medium in So Fell the Sparrow. I want to delve a bit into her character today as a preview, since she was the driving force behind the concept of this book.
In my mind, I had this character. I could have fit her into any book, but somehow she seemed to fit perfectly here. She’d be a seer of spirits and a wise, old soul. A woman prone to ride the wind without a destination, burdened by itchy feet. She would have known great emotional suffering, something beyond her control to fix. So she would turn to vices, strangers, and in the end, faith. She’d never lie, and yet always skirt around the truth about anything and everything. No one would truly know her, not really. She’d be this great mystery of a woman that drifted in and out of lives and left an irreversible mark, a beautiful stain.
This character idea turned into Jackie Hart, a psychic medium with a troubled past. She is the gypsy of spirits.
Originally, she was not going to play as big a role in So Fell the Sparrow as she ended up being. SFTS was primarily about Grace, the skeptic, and her journey to accepting the paranormal. But as the story went on and Jackie made her appearance, she nudged her way into more scenes and the book became almost half hers. Her journey is not to accept the paranormal, since she already does. Hers was to open herself up to love and to understand that love is not a prison, but a shelter.
Enter Alex, and her whole world changes. Isn’t love beautiful? 🙂 Here is a taste of one of my favorite Jackie/Alex scenes from So Fell the Sparrow.
When she reached the hotel room where Alex and Ian were staying, she knocked lightly on the door and rested her palm over the painted white surface, praying he answered. Praying he was alone.
Alex opened the door, the soft light of the nightstand lamp glowing yellow behind him. The television was on, though he looked like he had been asleep.
“Hey.” He smiled sleepily, pleased to see her. “Is everything okay?”
Jackie nodded and stepped into the room when he shifted out of the way. “Where’s Ian?”
“Went to see Grace a couple hours ago. Not back yet.” He stretched his arms over his head, then settled down on the side of the bed. “You sure you’re alright? You look upset.”
She let out a soft sigh, but met his eyes assuredly. “I’m fine. Now.”
Without hesitation, she moved forward and cupped his face in her hands, lowering her lips to his. She kissed him lightly, sweetly, running her fingers through his waves of sandy hair. She breathed in the warm scent of his soap, of the beer he must have had before bed, of the minty toothpaste he used. She welcomed it all, everything he was, letting it be her refuge.
He was so kind, so gentle. Unlike anyone she had ever known. No wonder she felt such reprieve in his presence. He had this calming way about him that chased away the demons in her mind, making them cower in the corner like the horrors that they were.
When she was with him, there was no suffering. There was only Alex.
Ah, romance *sigh* 🙂
Lastly, I want to leave off with the song that I listened to over and over and over again when thinking of Jackie and her place in the story. It’s such a haunting, beautiful song…just perfect.
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That’s it for this week! I hope next week you all will join me back here for the release of Gypsy of Spirits on September 21st (which also happens to be my birthday!).
Until then, over and out!