Could I have directed my new novel, What’s Left, to move straight from her loss at age 11 into her subsequent growth within her close-knit circle of cousins?
Since so much of their group identity depends on the family restaurant where they all work at some point in their youth and the big Victorian house where they gather and many of them still live, this would nevertheless require some hints of the history of their being where they are – and who they are – pretty close to the top of the story anyway, plus far more detail about the cousins and their parents than I now need to engage in the opening chapters.
As a writer, I’m left wondering how I’d ever introduce all of this at once and still have you readers following the narrative. A related challenge would be any attempt to work our way back through the family history, like an archaeologist, layer by layer, rather than jumping down to the trunk of her family in the New World and moving upward from there. There are many sound reasons for presenting a history chronologically, after all. Especially when past events help us more clearly understand where we are and who we are now.
Well, you can check out the book as it stands.
The story, of course, turns toward the crucial decisions they’ll face. Will Cassia and her cousins ever live up to their family’s resourceful and romantic roots? Will they be able to take their legacy to greater heights?
What would you do in their place, given their resources? Stay and work in the restaurant and real estate? Start something of your own while living close at hand? Or head off for careers and family elsewhere?