Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
(Excerpt from W.B. Yeats’ The Stolen Child)
All souls need it in a broken world.
So much so that some unknowingly seek it out – not only for themselves, but also for others.
Of James’ four children (two sons and two daughters), Mary, the third in line, was the one who continued, well beyond the years of her childhood, to yearn to be with her father on Irish soil. Despite the fact she’d spent most of her life believing her father had chosen whiskey over her, she had come to forgive a man his weaknesses. Had she known the truth of her father coming to take her home on that bleak night long ago, she would have gone to all measures to be with him, including packing a small bag and stowing herself away in his trunk. Yet that was never to be part of her life’s story. Distantly and faintly, but never at rest, her soul longed for that never-to-be-had home.
The concept for this novel was birthed in early January 2009, and although I had completed a massive amount of it within months, I had to set it aside due to the demands of my doctoral studies. I got around to penning the final words on September 1, 2012, when my characters (and one of my test readers) demanded resolution to their story (or just their freedom from being held captive in my brain – who could blame them for that?).
At the Water’s Edge began as a personal expression for processing some losses in my life, while honoring those precious loved ones – all of whom have inspired me, one way or another – throughout my own life’s journey. This is a surreal tale, though, combining both natural and supernatural elements to speak to the importance of relationships with both those in our present and the ancestors of our past. It’s my desire, especially, to make a connection for American descendents of Irish emigrants – long-held roots who had to tear themselves up from their homeland, many leaving their souls behind when heading to a new promised land for physical survival. Because of the strong influences of both Druidism and Christianity in the land of Eire, I wanted to bring this story’s discovery of connectionism to an astral plane, emphasizing a timeless perspective of the soul’s ability to express its eternal love. Concisely, it’s the journey of a lost soul trying to find her way home.
The overall theme is that of reconciliation, brought to the reader in a personalized account of a young American traveler, Danielle, who is following a vague mission given to her by her recently deceased grandmother. She has no idea that her journey will bring her face to face with a past she has only known as fantasy, with no comprehension of any basis in reality. On her journey, she begins to find out who she truly is through the eyes and hearts of others. The joys and struggles she faces with her own discoveries open the door for various generations of readers to gain an appreciation of connecting – with people, places, and personal expressions.
Obviously, I want this to be an entertaining tale for my readers, but it’s also my goal to make it worthwhile modern literature with descriptive elements to be savored. I want readers to be inspired in the midst of being entertained. To help meet that mark, I’ve taken time to highlight various expressions of poetry and music, almost all Irish, from past and present day. I’ve particularly sought to embrace the style of W.B. Yeats, the Irish poet who possessed an uncanny ability to share the love of his land, drawing his reader into both the content and context surrounding his subjects. That, too, is what I hope to accomplish in this work. I want for you, my audience, to make that magical, soul-filled connection with the Emerald Isle.
Test Reader Feedback – I’d like to express my immense gratitude for the invaluable feedback & encouragement I’m receiving from my beta readers:
Let me be the spoiler…It is AMAZING!!! One warning though. She will quite possibly get you so wrapped up in the lives of her characters that you can’t wait for your next moment of free time to escape your own and rush back to the water’s edge. (29-year-old male)
Finished your wonderful book. Jody I loved it! Actually finished it in 1.5 days. Couldn’t put it down. When will the next book be published? When the second is published PLEASE let me know! (40-something female)