Inspiration for The Lace Reader

For quite some time, I have been fascinated by the Hero’s Journey or the monomyth. Most stories that follow this pattern have a decidedly male orientation: a lone individual acts heroically and saves the day. I wondered if there might be an alternate form, a feminine Hero’s Journey. So I began to look at stories that featured female protagonists to see if they offered something different. What I found surprised me. Most of these women were either killed off or were ultimately rescued from their plight by male heros. Unsatisfied, I wondered if I could write a Hero’s Journey for women where the strong but wounded heroine must find a way to save herself. With this in mind, I began to expose myself to archetypal images that resonated with female sensibilities. During this time, I had a dream that I saw something prophetic by looking through a piece of lace. This dream made such an impression on me, it seemed so vivid and real, that I felt that I must at least entertain the idea of using lace as the central image of the book. Soon after that, I found connections to other iconic feminine symbols: water, moon, tides, birth, etc..

As I began to write the novel, my characters’ stories unfolded in ways that surprised me. I began to realize that the heroine’s journey is often a collaborative one. When Towner’s story begins, she is very much alone. Her journey is about healing and learning to trust both herself and others.