Welcome to the Jayne Menard author’s website! This blog features the launch of my new book, Old Growth and Ivy. Since I was a teenager, romantic figures have appeared in my mind and as I grew older, these characters demanded to have their stories told. Usually the characters appear in daydreams, but one appeared while I was sleeping. Steve Nielsen, the hero of Old Growth and Ivy, appeared in a dream that was set in a wedding reception. He was so distinctive in his looks, his size and his big boyish grin, that I remember wanting to find out more about him. In the dream that I discovered he was a very senior FBI agent. Most dreams are transitory, but this one was very vivid. The image stuck in my brain until his story began to unfold.
Ivy Littleton, the heroine of the novel appeared when I needed her, looking alive and vivid. If Ivy were to stand next to me, you would notice some similarities between the two of us, but she is younger, prettier and more giving. Quite frankly, I struggled with Ivy as a character until I began to dig inside myself and pull out some of my own experiences, fears and longings. Those made Ivy more believable and more interesting.
The multiple book idea came about from the character Mathew who was struggling so hard to change himself and his life, but his story was too big to draw into Old Growth and Ivy other than in short snippets. A friend of mine said that Mathew is a man she would love to have as a friend. His story will unfold in the second book of the trilogy. The two other agents, Brian and Moll, were also growing as men and seemed shortchanged in their stories and so the concept of the third book came about for them be the leading characters in their own volume.
Writing is a solitary venture. Yes an author is surrounded by the characters but finding the twists and turns that make their lives worth following and making the characters seem complete requires the three “tions” of observation, contemplation and isolation. I find that as the words march out, I am left with a certain emptiness and loss, and so I turn to more ordinary life, conversations, walking, working in the garden and of course travel until I feel filled up again and ready for the keyboard.