By Blanche Manos

Why on earth would anyone choose to write a book? Writing is a lonely occupation, frustrating when the right words won’t come, disappointing when looking for a publisher or when books don’t sell. The world is over-populated with books of all genres. So, why write?

Writers write, in the first place, because we are impelled to do so. Something within us bubbles and stirs and demands to be put on paper. Characters which have existed only in our minds insist that we bring them to life. Scenes which have been imaginary, spring into reality. And plots! Oh, my, those plots. Ideas for stories come from everywhere, from watching or reading the news, from personal experiences, from “what if”, even from vivid dreams. So, what’s a poor writer to do but give in to the unseen but very real force that demands vindication?

Sometimes the inclination to write lies dormant for a long time. In my case, I had written and sold poems, stories, songs, and articles to periodicals for a number of years. But, I had never even tried to write a book. That seemed to me a daunting task. But, one day, after reaching the ripe old age of sixty, another writer and I collaborated on a cozy mystery about a woman and her mother who lived in a small Oklahoma town and became involved with some dangerous and devious people. Thus, the Darcy and Flora series was born.

More stories swirled within this mysterious brain of mine. I had heard tales about the full moon exerting, not only a gravitational pull on the oceans, but on people’s behavior as well. What if a full moon could be at the center of a mystery involving one of my favorite things, old houses? The protagonist would be a slightly older than middle age woman. She would have a couple of friends to help her get in and out of trouble, and she would become interested again in an old flame. The result: Ned McNeil’s moonlight mysteries.

My advice to those hidden, as yet undiscovered writers who may not have yielded to the impulse to write? You’re never too old or too busy or too limited to put pen to paper and bring those characters and places out from your imagination. Let your thoughts soar into the regions of “what if”. You have a story that is uniquely yours and no one else can tell it.

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