As many of you know, I’m gradually releasing my older out-of-print books as e-books, and Brass Ring is the latest addition to the list. (The others so far are Secret Lives, Reflection and The Escape Artist). You can find it (and read free samples of it) for your Kindle or Nook, or for any other e-reader through Smashwords, (although it will probably be a little longer before it will be up at Apple’s iBookstore.) For those of you who prefer print books, you might be able to find old copies of Brass Ring on eBay or through the interlibrary loan program in the US. (original cover below)
As with the other out-of-print books I’ve released as e-books, Brass Ring had to be scanned so that I could work with the file on the computer. Scanning makes for tons of errors and necessitates a careful read-through. Rereading these old books is such an odd experience for me. I see how my writing has changed over time. From a purely structural perspective, for example, I no longer switch points of view in the middle of a chapter as I did back then — although I was always cautious to do so only after a break in the scene. I wrote only from third person, where I now tend to vary my books between first and third person. And I had some weird thing against contractions! “Did not” “had not” “would not” “could not.” What’s up with that? I did a ‘global search’ for all these words and replaced them with contractions, which sound so much better to my 2010 ears for some reason. However, I’d forgotten one of the dangers of ‘global search and replace’ when I noticed the contractions “hadn’thing” and “didn’thing.” I had to then search for those contractions and change them to the words they were meant to be (had nothing and did nothing).
I believe the story is different than one I would write today, but I’m not sure I can put my finger on why I feel that way. I think I may have been a braver writer when I wrote Brass Ring. It deals with some mega-tough issues: repressed memories, the sexual life of a paraplegic, child abuse. Perhaps I was closer to my first career as a psychotherapist back then and those issues were easier for me to deal with than they’d be today. As I reread the book, though, I felt proud of the job I did with them. I didn’t shy away from much.
I’ll blog in a few days about repressed memories, because it’s such a controversial issue and deserves a few paragraphs all its own. Meanwhile, here’s a short synopsis of the story for those of you unfamiliar with the book.
Perpetual optimist Claire Harte-Mathias and her disabled husband, Jon, run a successful foundation to help people with spinal cord injuries. One night, Claire witnesses a woman leap to her death from a bridge, and the tragedy sparks murky childhood memories that leave her confused and frightened. As Claire becomes obsessed with trying to understand the power the haunting memories have over her, she’s torn between blocking them from her mind entirely and trying to unearth their source. Putting both her marriage and self image on the line, she struggles to uncover the truth, only to discover that the past, present and future are connected in ways she never dreamed.
I hope you find Brass Ring both enjoyable and thought provoking!