My first novel, Girl Found has been loosed on the public. It's been quite a process. Originally way back in 2006 when the first draft met the keyboard it was a contemporary drama centered on the events surrounding a missing girl who turned up using another girl's name. Think switched at birth, sort of.
Because switched at birth wasn't what started my mind churning on the subject. It was my mother. One day when I was twelve or thirteen she was sitting at the kitchen table in Dad's spot, which she never did, staring out the window. I must have walked by her six or seven times trying to see what had her so occupied. I looked out the window, but didn't see anything. I walked by a couple more times thinking she'd notice me hovering and say something, relieving me of the need to interrupt what was for my mother, strange behavior.
When she didn't notice my pacing, curiosity got the better of me and I asked what she was looking at. I will never forget this moment.
"I think there's a dead woman buried under the shrubs."
Not what I was expecting to hear. The shrubs had been there when we moved into the house. They'd probably been there for twenty or thirty years at the time. When the shrubs were eventually dug up four years later I asked Dad if he'd found any bones. He shot me a look of impatient annoyance, asked "What the hell is wrong with you?" and went back to digging.
There was no body, but the idea had been planted in my mind. Why wouldn't anyone have missed this woman? Had they missed her? And of course being a child I had to consider what happens when children go missing. Surely someone notices. But what if they didn't? Why wouldn't they notice?
When I started writing these questions returned and became a little story about a girl who'd been taken after her parents had been killed. The perpetrator, a hit man, couldn't stomach killing a small child and called a cousin for help. The cousin happened to have a friend who's daughter had died under suspicious circumstances and didn't know what to do. Too coincidental, I agree, but that was the original premise.
Several rewrites later and Ellen Morris is a girl with a paranormal talent trying to survive in the 23rd century. Be careful what you tell your children.