“The Gathering Basket”available at http://www.amazon.com/shops/santafemotherblogger
Annamarie Iver’s journey begins in the fall with a backdrop of ripening apples and brilliant skies bordering a northern New Mexico apple farm. It is a story about love, about abuse, about faith and discovery.
Ghosts and wicked visions haunt Annamarie Iver’s sleep.
Like a video loop gone mad, Annamarie’s nightmares have followed her most of her life. Now removed from the chaos of misdirected hopes, lost loves, and ideals, Annamarie resolves to end the nighttime terror, and begins unorthodox sessions with a Taos, New Mexico shaman, Rosemary Quintana.
Rosemary guides Annamarie through four decades of life memories, making her recollect and gather her strengths, weaknesses, fears and spirituality. As Annamarie comes closer to her nightmare’s genesis, another world of unimagined abuse and horror confronts and challenges her ability to face her truths.
An interview with Charmaine…
Q. What did it take to write your first piece of fiction?
A. It took endless words of encouragement from my colleagues and my husband. My biggest challenge was to make stuff up. For the last 20 years, I’ve written about people, places and things. All factual. After awhile, it became painfully boring and tedious. I wanted to make up some wild and crazy story and write it.
Q. So you did. What was the process?
A. I bled. I sent my first draft to two writers I respect. Both at opposite ends of the creative stick, they each said the same thing: “The idea’s good, but there’s much work to be done.” I put the manuscript down for the summer and thought about it.
Q. Did you think about trashing the entire project?
A. Absolutely not! I spent the summer in my garden. I yanked weeds from the dirt, and words from the manuscript. I planted seeds in the soil, and new ideas into the manuscript. Thankfully, no one was around, because I did a lot of verbal character conversation and set up. I apologize for anyone who pulled into my driveway and wanted to chat, because I was into ”The Gathering Basket” and nothing else.
Q. Did you finish it that year?
A. Nope. I rewrote, sent the manuscript to Sheila Cowing, who works as a professional editor, and expected her to say, “This is great. I’ve got a friend in New York who will love it.” She didn’t say that. She typed pages of thoughts and critique, and said, “There’s much work to be done.”
Q. Was it time to throw in the towel?
A. It crossed my mind. But I love a challenge. When I was in the PR business, I had a great idea for a billboard. The billboard company said that it couldn’t be done. I took that as a challenge, and the billboard won me a regional design award. So, I continued on with developing more ideas and scenarios. And in truth, there’s probably much more that could be done, but I have new projects I’m ready to tackle.
Q. So, what inspired you to write The Gathering Basket?
A. The story played in my head for years. It never jelled. When I bought a Santa Fe bookstore, I invited 10 local authors to participate in a ‘book fest.’ They probably thought me corny, but I had to thank each one for participating in that event, because I understood the amount of work they put into the stack of books we hoped to sell and sign. I really did. They accomplished something that I couldn’t. The bookstore was a lesson. You see, I came into retail from the privileged careers of journalism and public relations. Suddenly I was a retailer, and some schlep behind a cash register. I had no idea! I mean, when I was a kid, I used to play ’store.’ As an adult, who loves the written word, owning a bookstore, in Santa Fe, no less, was ideal. The bookstore was great. Santa Fe is great. Retailing sucked. Yes, some of the incidents in T, are definite “write what you know” inspired.
Q. What do you mean by that?A. For nine years I heard people whine, cry and make my life miserable because they were “dysfunctional.” I wanted to say, “Dude! I come from dysfunction. What makes you think your life was so incredibly significant that it gives you the right to sour everyone else’s life?” I don’t accept the poor me and it’s everyone else’s fault scenario. Take responsibility and act with care and compassion.
I didn’t sleep well during that time. The book business is tough. But I’m tougher and those nine years gave me “The Gathering Basket’s” premise.
Q. So you sold the bookstore and wrote the book?
A. Basically. I had to recharge my creative batteries. They were definitely running on low. But my husband and I moved to the countryside. I experienced splendid isolation that afforded me the space to work on ‘the book,’ and do what I do best – research the times, people and places. But this time I could make up whatever I wanted in those times, with those people and in those places. Such fun.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. When I thought that ”The Gathering Basket” was sitting and spinning, I shuffled through my boxes of clips. I found two years worth of newspaper columns that I wrote for the Antelope Valley Press in Palmdale, Ca. A story was there alongside my other essays and opines. I put in all three leaves in my dining room table and spread out everything I’ve ever written. It was like a giant game of solitaire and the bones of my work in progress, “We Were The California Girls.”
I also have another fiction piece in the works. This one requires major research and I have about twenty books I have to study before it’s completed..
Meanwhile, I keep busy with several blogs, both original and ‘ghost’ written.
Q. Do you sleep?
A. On occasion.