I have written five novels so far, and ‘Upon the Altar of Roots and Rocks’ is the last one I wrote, but the first I published. I have published some short stories, some novelettes, and some novellas under Christine Ayer, and this is my first novel published. Not an extreme long book, but still a novel.
At first, I wanted to make this a series, but the two main characters didn’t want to wait for a second book. Not. At. All. This was the lightning story that came to me in a flash, and I had to write and review, get help and review again, beta readers, editors for development, line, and everything else right away.
This COVID-19 year gifted me with many virtual writing conferences, the Storymakers, ANWA, and others. I had the privilege of participating and learning from excellent teachers. The story of Ella and Trond is the result of all of it. The other novels are unique and memorable as well, but I need to revisit my technique in each of them.
When we write about trauma, abuse, and addiction, it’s not easy to come full circle and resolve many conflicts, tidying up everything in a story, because life is not fiction. As a Psychologist and Counselor, I have seen many who suffer trauma, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, and many other mental illnesses, having their lives destroyed. I decided to write about these subjects to give hope to others. To show they are not alone. To help people daydream and use their will power to transform their lives. These stories also show that nobody needs to go through this path by themselves. One thing that I see happening every day in my line of work is that even though most people find help and get to recover some self-control in their lives, at least to survive until their balance is restored at a level they can function, it’s also true that some never do. Those who do, however, and reach a certain level of peace and restore their lives, always become stronger after helping someone else.
The other novels I haven’t yet published have some of the worse cases of abuse, trauma, PTSD, and all sorts of mental illness. I based most of those characters on real people very close to me. Of course, I didn’t picture them exactly how they are or transcribed their entire journey. A work of fiction includes many nuances of real life, and although many people go through the same struggles, how they react to each situation is critical, and each case is unique. As a writer, I can mirror someone in a personage, but that personage has a little bit of me in them whatsoever, and sometimes a little bit of the people I know best. It might be possible that another short piece is based on the people I observe, try to help professionally or personally. I can watch their development and accompany their progress. Or regret.
Upon the Altar… tells the story of two broken people, Ella and Trond. Different backgrounds, families, experiences, struggles, and other ways they dealt with trauma and loss. People are different, and each is a unique vessel. What I wanted to pass with this novel is how, if we will be humble and open ourselves to trust another, we can turn our lives around, help each other, no matter what season of our lives we are living, and find what we are looking for.
This process is a journey that takes time, patience, love for itself and your neighbor. Empathy is not judging or help the person in front of you according to your vision of life after you also suffered your traumas. Let yourself go and open your heart to understand how the other person feels after their trauma. Forget your problems to help another can help rebuild a part of yourself once forgotten and taken by those who hurt you. Find your voice again after slipping through life’s traps feels glorious inside.
Ella Cassidy and Trond Murray were fed up with their lives but gave in to have peace. They didn’t know how to rebuild their paths nor thought it was possible to do it. Somehow, they found that they saved themselves a little bit, and learned what they didn’t want for their lives at least. From there, seeing each other was a natural process, and finding the light at the end of the tunnel was consequential.
I tried to convey the story of two personages and others in this story and others they asked me to be mentioned. Some characters have their own life for a writer, and they talk to me explicitly about what they want to show. My job is to do my best to translate their wishes.
I hope you enjoy this story, which I can list as one of the top three I liked to write the most!
Upon the Altar of Roots and Rocks tells the story of a woman in search of herself. She leaves her life in North Carolina and embarks on a desperate journey to Scotland, the land she left while still a little girl when her parents immigrated to America, to find out who she is and her roots and essence.
When she arrives in her homeland on the Highlands’ coast, she discovers much more than expected, including a man who has been hurt as much or even more than she has been. Against all odds, they help each other to overcome the sorrows of stones in their lives, find who they are and where their roots belong, and decide to cross their stories for the goodness they have, along with their needs, wants, and much more.
In the words of Paige Lawson, the five-star editor for several bestsellers worldwide who helped me with this book:
“Your take on grief was so beautiful. There was so much of it throughout the pages, but it all felt like a strong healing process. I don’t think there was a single moment where I felt like taking a break or found myself growing bored. From the very beginning, you dove right into an interesting storyline with great characters and developing relationships that had me swooning like a schoolgirl!
I felt exactly how your characters were feeling—perfectly done.
The relationship growth between Ella and Murray was SO natural. It made me sad to say goodbye to them both (great readership investment)! I really enjoyed this. You should be incredibly proud of the story you have crafted.”
The Novel “Upon the Altar of Roots and Rocks” will be officially launched at the Amazon Kindle Store on December 7th, 2020. The book is available for pre-order now! Grab your copy at https://amz.run/44iO, enjoy your read, leave a review!
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