I had a childhood steeped in imaginative play. This was out of necessity as I lived a rather sheltered life. My parents, the children of immigrants, didn’t get the concept that we could play at a friend’s house. That’s what family is for. And so that’s what happened.
My chief playmate was my sister, Christine, who is three years younger. One of us would think up a fantasy to play with the invitation: “Let’s pretend …” I don’t remember all of the scenarios we or our dolls acted, but it doesn’t matter. What I do remember is that during those hours we spent together, we were delightfully in another world.
Another outlet was reading. Our mother would take us to the town library once or twice a week to stock up on books. In the summer, the bookmobile came to the church parking lot at the bottom of the street. I spent hours and hours — in the summer staying up late — lost in those words.
And when I became my mother, I enjoyed watching my children do the same.
Now the words “let’s pretend” is the motivation behind my writing fiction. I sit in front of my laptop and let my imagination take over. For my Isabel Long Mystery Series, it’s let’s pretend a former newspaper editor decides to solve cold cases in the hilltowns. Isabel’s elderly mother is her “Watson.” Her first case involves the disappearance of a woman 28 years earlier in her town.
The same is true for the fiction I’ve written for adult and young readers.
My most recent release is the first in The Twin Jinn Series. For this book, I circled back to those times in the backyard when my sister and I played, or upstairs in my bedroom reading a book I couldn’t put down.
First, I’ve always been fascinated by genies. Yes, there’s that Aladdin story. But my genies or jinn, as I prefer to call them, don’t live in lamps. In the first book — The Twin Jinn at Happy Jack’s Carnival of Mysteries — they live and have a magic act in a traveling carnival. Of course, their magic is just one of their many powers such as being invisible, flying, casting spells, oh, the list goes on. The twins are Jute and Fina, brother and sister who are 11 by human age. They are sweet but mischievous and like so many siblings, competitive. Their parents, Jeffer and Mira, are protective, but that’s because they tricked their evil master into letting them go. Yes, he’s trying to find them.
Pretending with The Jinn family is so much fun that I completed two more books, and a third is halfway done. I plan to continue publishing them, because I want to inspire young readers and anyone else who loves magical realism.
So how can you get a copy? The paperback is available. Note the great illustration by Ezra Livingston, one of my sons. If you like Kindle, that will launch March 6. Here’s the link to Amazon: https://mybook.to/TwinJinnAtHappyJacks
And thank you for joining me.