As a writer, I first met Trey and Phoenix in a novel that I started to develop over twenty years ago. I had the desire to write a great love story. The idea came to me after having a conversation with a friend. She talked about the stresses that professionals face in the work world. Much is expected and sometimes, even more is expected of minorities who have climbed the corporate and career ladders.
They not only have an image to maintain, but they are often under greater scrutiny. Combine that with a troubled romance and a job can go down the drain quite quickly. I originally wrote A Golden Leaf in Time where Trey is trying to keep it together while he argues with his insecure girlfriend. She constantly accuses him of being with others when they are not together. His job as a college professor takes a hit.
Phoenix, an African American, is a librarian. She, too, is under the microscope and being observed by both staff and public patrons. But her love life is in shambles and she privately medicates with beer to try to deal with it all. Their lives run parallel and both have a hard time balancing the world of work and their love lives.
As I grew, I decided to take some of the salty language out of parts of that book. I softened it by revising and the second title is called A Golden Leaf in Time Revised. Plus, the original copy was filled with typos and mistakes because it was my first edition and I did not know how the self-publishing industry worked. Now I do.
I thought that these characters had had their say, but they had not. A few years later after leaving a job, I wrote Warm Intrigues. The story continues about Trey (Tyre), who now goes by his given name and Phoenix. They are dating throughout Chicagoland. I say Chicagoland because he lives all the way in Evanston and she lives in the south suburb of Homewood. They had met at the end of A Golden Leaf in Time Revised and they have to travel very long distances just to see each other.
They must still keep their jobs intact along with the new romance. Anyone who knows the size of Chicago can understand that the miles between the two locations could easily make a couple simply pass on a relationship. But, the spark is there and they weather the challenge.
I had another hiatus, last summer and I realized that I had left them on a Hawaiian beach. It was as if they were saying, “We are still sheltered in place and waiting for you to come and get us.” I remember seeing Mildred Pitts Walter, a children’s author of Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World. When asked when she was going to write more about Justin, she replied, “Justin has not spoken to me yet.” Writers do have their own code.
So, during the summer of 2015, I picked up my pen and I went and got Tyre and Phoenix off of the Hawaiian Beach. A Continuum: Tyre and Phoenix opens with them flying back to Chicago from Hawaii. It is about the ups and downs of their first year of marriage. They must still maintain those high profile positions as they bond and support each other.
Here we are in the midst of the summer of 2016. I am an educator and after school got out, I took a short trip to Boston. Sitting on the Charles River cleared my mind and upon return, I started to write and continue more about Tyre and Phoenix. They had waited for a whole year to share their story and once their voices started, I recorded page after page.
In the Throes of Progress just came out a couple of weeks ago. In the past, I always had a writing plan or outline. With this one, I just let them speak and I was merely their medium. Somehow, it all came together and the puzzles pieces fell into place.
Robert Frost wrote, “No surprises in the writer, no surprises in the reader.” I surprised myself as events unfolded. I believe there will be even more about Tyre and Phoenix because a saga has been born!
Lynn M. August 2, 2016