My fifth novel, Web of Tyranny, chronicles the tale of an abused child whose primary goal in life is to escape the tyranny of her childhood home and find freedom and fulfillment.
Here I will share excerpts from the novel, thoughts about the process of creating it, and snippets about the characters.
My characters feel like they are my friends, especially the ones who show up again and again, like Rainbow Luft. We meet her in Miles to Go, at a point in her life when the secrets of her past are beginning to surface. We see her again in Web of Tyranny, in “prequel” moments that showcase her time during the 1960s.
When she first appears on the canvas in MTG, she is an artist who supports herself after the end of her marriage by working in restaurants, and then later takes a job in an art gallery.
In the early 1970s, she is still clinging to the freewheeling “hippie” lifestyle, and, as someone once described her, she looks like a “moving sculpture,” with colorful layers draped over her body. Her frizzy hair stands out like an aura around her slightly moon-shaped face. But her ebullient energy, combined with a peaceful demeanor, draws others to her.
She first meets Lindsay Malone and Gia Greenbaum in a consciousness-raising group in midtown Sacramento. To the others in the group, she is like a leader. She seems to have incorporated all the feminist teachings and epitomizes everything about freedom and independence that the others only dream of espousing.
But beneath that serene exterior lie the secrets of the past that haunt her. What happened to Rainbow in her turbulent teens that led her to a commune in the sixties? And what deeply buried pain continues to daunt her days, even as she pursues her art? Who will finally unlock the key to the previous versions of Rainbow and lead her into a happier life? And then, when she finally believes that the past has been dealt with, what betrayals will catapult her backwards into pain and despair?
In this excerpt from Web of Tyranny, our MC Meg tries to identify and label the strange new feelings overwhelming her…and put them in some sort of context.
One time, she’d asked her grandmother about her marriage. Meg had never known her grandfather, who had died when her mother was just a teenager. Lars Ericson, also an immigrant from Sweden, had been ten years older than Anna, and had met her when they were living in LA around the turn of the century.
Listening to her grandmother’s stories, Meg had visualized a romance between those two. But maybe that’s just what she wanted to believe. Dying before his time, he had left a tragic, romantic legacy.
Faced with her confusing emotions, Meg followed Sean from the church after the service. As they reached Don’s car, they stopped to discuss their plans, agreeing finally to go to the country inn for lunch.
In the car, Meg turned toward Sean. When their eyes met, she immediately forgot all about analyzing her feelings. She just gave herself over to them. And as Sean took her hand in his, she pictured herself as the romantic heroine in one of her novels, trying to respond accordingly. She noticed nothing about their trip to the restaurant. Every glance, every touch between them seemed charged with electricity.
Feelings seemed to rule. Ordinary topics were imbued with magic and sufficient power to overcome the obstacles that stood between them: Geographical distance and the forbidding presence of Vincent Graham.
Again Meg didn’t remember what they ate. She picked at her food while studying the way Sean’s lips moved as he ate each bite. His compelling glances rendered her faint. Occasionally she looked over at Liz, who seemed perfectly at ease with Don. They didn’t seem to be having any trouble conversing, and she saw no evidence that Liz was going into a swoon anytime soon.
Why did Sean’s mere presence render her helpless? It must be love, she decided.