historymcdowellcountyIt’s no secret I have a love/hate relationship with research. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been on the hate end but yesterday, I opened up a book, History of McDowell County by Mildred B. Fossett, I checked out of the library almost two weeks ago. I started flipping through it without much interest…until I found a chapter about schools in McDowell County and at the end there was a list: Former Teachers of McDowell County. Guess who was on that list. Yep, that’s right, Bessie Elliott. It didn’t give any more information like when she taught or what school she taught at, but she was there and it was enough to spark our interest again.

This next bit needs a bit of backstory; from the very first when Christy and I came up with the idea of writing Whistling Woman, we’ve been convinced that Aunt Bessie was sitting at our side guiding our hands as we typed. It’s as if she wanted, and sometimes demanded, her story be told. So we told it, the first part of it anyway, and mostly, we enjoyed every single minute of it. And we knew, we knew, the whole time we were writing it that it was right. We could almost see Aunt Bessie’s smile. But after we finished Whistling Woman and moved on to Moonfixer, the next book in the series, it was as if Aunt Bessie deserted us and writing her life story became more of a chore than a pleasure.

In fact, up until yesterday, I likened writing Moonfixer to trying to shave my legs with only a pair of tweezers…a long, arduous, painful, and almost impossible task. But now…ah, now, Aunt Bessie is back and I can’t wait to see where she leads us this time. Of course, we pretty much know the story and even had the book almost finished, right down to the last line, but it just wasn’t working somehow. It didn’t feel right, didn’t feel like we were telling it the right way.

It’s like I always tell my husband when he asks why I read books over and over again when I already know how they end: it’s not the end that counts, it’s the getting there. To us, the journey is everything and knowing Aunt Bessie, she’ll take us on a heck of a journey with this one, just like she did the last one.

So, here’s to the year of the Moonfixer…part deux!

Oops, I just Googled that phrase to make sure I spelled it right and one of the definitions is an “overly bad sequel.” Yikes! So maybe we should say here’s to the year of the Moonfixer…new and improved version!

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