A novel of familial redemption set within Maine’s Baxter StatePark.
In this poignant spiritual novel that echoes the emotional resonance of The Glass Castle and Running with Scissors, an unexpected reunion at a remote lakeside camp in the Maine woods offers the possibility of reconciliation and healing for a man and his fractured family.
For years, Paul Strand has been estranged from his family. But when his mother’s escalating Alzheimer’s disease creates a crisis that calls him home, he’s pressured into hosting a reunion he’s avoided for decades in the one place he thought his family would never return to: the rural state park in Maine where his little sister drowned years before on a family vacation.
Over the course of ten days of guiding his family over difficult terrain, Paul finds himself torn between his desire for isolation and the need to reconnect with the only people who can make him whole. But after a lifetime of separation, is the painful chasm between them—and within Paul’s own soul—too deep to overcome?
Bryan Wiggins’s beautifully rendered novel illuminates the mysterious power of the wilderness and the resiliency of the human spirit to heal in the wake of devastating trauma.
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For Becky Rockwell, a February flight from Maine to Florida is no way to banish the winter blues. With both her mother and marriage on life support, and a brother, daughter, and business partner competing for the attention of the one woman capable of helping each of them to grow up, Becky struggles to juggle the needs and neuroses of those who depend on her most. But unexpected aid comes from the impassioned perspective of a childhood friend and an ancient Latino fruit vendor who leaves Becky with much more than the bags of oranges he sells. Their friendship – and her mother’s final, shared secret – are the gifts that just may help Becky bridge the distances threatening to pull her family apart.
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Opposites may attract, but for Ian and Anna Murphy, the differences that drew them together in Manhattan threaten to tear them apart when they move to Maine. For Ian, a fresh start in a pristine place is the perfect recipe for his “Winter Queen Café.” He bets everything to make his new business the success that will put the ghost of his dead father to rest for good. But Anna's rising prospects tip the balance towards a new family breadwinner. The two will have to navigate the rocky terrain of marriage and Maine as Anna and the café vie for the true title of Ian’s Winter Queen.
The Winter Queen was the book that taught me how to write a novel. It's in a drawer—where it belongs—but if you want a peek at what it taught me about the value of taking a large scale work to the end, click here.
The lifelong pursuit of hiking New Hampshire’s 48 4000 foot peaks frames the story of one man’s blind drive for success—and the love he sacrifices to achieve it.
I'm currently at work on this second book of the Imago trilogy. Each explores the relationships that define family in dramas set within the natural world. The core "Imago" concept explores how the idealized and often unrealized portraits of our parents that each of us carries shapes our relationships with the lovers and spouses who become our future families. (That premise was revealed to me by Dr. Haville Hendrix's revelatory book, Getting the Love You Want.) Each book in the Imago trilogy has a central them that drives its premise. For Autumn Imago, it was "forgiveness," for 48, it's "ambition," and for the final book (about a young, pregnant, woman with a passion for sea kayaking, set on on the coasts of Maine and Italy) it will be "independence."
My identity as a visual and verbal artist has shaped the tools I use to write my novels. The 5 snapshots below give a glimpse of the mix of the strategies and software I employ to discover my stories and shape them for my readers. The underlying architecture of my stories has been shaped by Larry Brooks' excellent book, Story Engineering. I created my novel blueprint of concepts revealed in that book, below, as the visual guide that helps me plot my work. Larry adopted the graphic for use in his follow-up book, Story Physics.
I use Adobe InDesign to begin mapping a big-picture view of my story. Using color coding for characters and condensing core external plot elements and internal character evolution creates a matrix for evaluating story pacing and tension.
As a process-oriented author, I need to remind myself of the powerful subconscious forces needed to shape the most compelling tales. Regular abandonment of my keyboard for my sketchbook continually reveals the insights into scenes, settings, imagery, and other elements that help me build richer stories born not only from the head, but heart as well.
I'm a passionate user of Scrivener. The program allows me to zoom in and out of my novel, from a global view of my chapter structure, to a bird's eye outline view of each chapter's timeline, mission, and exposition, to my ground level work writing individual scenes.
Aeon Timeline has become an indispensable tool for building the temporal story world and proofing the plausibility of a tale's chronology. The ability to coordinate the relationship between characters and events keeps me conscious of the cause and effect relationships that create the chain-drive for compelling fiction.