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Background

First Trilogy
All Manor of Yarns

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  I. Prussian Yarns

 II. A Stitch in Time

III. Tinctures & Tantrums

Second Trilogy
The Snow Queen and
The Caterpillar

IV. There is a Season
 V. Viennese Yarns
VI. Orchids

Third Trilogy
Taffeta Tales

 VII. British Yarns
VIII. Polish Yarns
  IX. Threads of Strife

Favourites Writers
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Lorraine Stanton
Vicki Wootton
Shalanna Collins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It started as one book.  Really.  Honestly.  I wanted to write a story about people living in Prussia in the mid-nineteenth century.  The book grew too big, and was carved into two: Prussian Yarns and Viennese Yarns.

With the pressure gone to try to make the entire story fit into one book, I settled down to finish Prussian Yarns without the Viennese component.  That was a good theory, that was.  Too bad it didn’t work out.

Prussian Yarns grew too big again.

This time it was divided into Prussian Yarns and Winter in Paris and I settled down to write the book without the French component.  That didn't work, either.  It grew as I wrote it until it was back to 1,100 pages and had to be cut up yet again.

This time it was carved into Prussian Yarns and There is a Season.

Again I settled down to complete the story, this time without the element of trying to get Hildegard off opium.

Still didn't work. I had gone from one book to four and still had too much story in each book.  Now comes the tricky part: the last third of Prussian Yarns and the first third of There is a Season were carved off to create A Stitch in Time.

Prussian Yarns was at last finished.  It's a big book at over 500 pages, but it's a reasonable size.  It has a proper beginning, middle, and end; its own plot and sub-plots, and themes. What a relief!

At last it was time to sit down with the pieces that had been cut off and turn them into their own books.  I settled down to work on A Stitch in Time.  You'll never believe what happened!  A Stitch in Time grew too big.  Instead of being an orphan book, the stitch that connected Prussian and Season, it developed a life of its own and demanded to be taken seriously.  I was beginning to consider that when my school teachers said I talked too much, they might have had a point.

Tinctures and Tantrums was carved from A Stitch in Time.

Once I understood the plots, sub-plots, and themes of Stitch it was actually very quickly written, only four months from start to finish, the quickest one so far.  And it didn't overgrow itself.  Hey!  Maybe I'm getting the hang of this writing thing.

Tinctures and Tantrums stalled, and wouldn't come together, so I took a break from Prussia and wrote the greater part of a science fiction novel that isn't finished.

After working on the SF for a year and discovering logic bombs in it that I couldn't fix, I set it aside and went back to Prussia.  The break did my writing a world of good, and Tinctures and Tantrums was finished in eight months.  Again I stayed within the framework of the book.  I'm getting better at this.

Finally, after so many years of sitting and waiting, There is a Season had its turn.  Once I got into it, I was surprised by how quickly it came together.  I had been dreading it as the hardest one to write, but in actual fact it was completed ready for my trusty band of critiquers to tear it apart in only four months.  One of the quickest instead of one of the slowest.

Next in line was Viennese Yarns.  Where I had been dreading Season, I had been looking forward to Viennese.  It had been the easiest to write originally, taking only five months.  It had been the only one to be written straight through, start to finish, with no stopping to go back to the beginning, no need to re-write for historical accuracy, and no need to stop and take it apart because it was actually two or three or four books, not one.

Once I had pulled the idea out of the original Prussian Yarns, I sat at my computer day after day and simply wrote Viennese, starting it when I had double pneumonia.  I was so ill I was off work for nine weeks, and so was able to write non-stop day and night.  I had three teenagers at home at the time, and they took care of me while I was ill.  I sat in my kitchen, wrapped in a brown fluffy blanket with my feet over the heat vent and forgot all of my troubles as the words and scenes flowed almost of their own accord.

Viennese Yarns has a special spot in my heart because of that.

After I had finished There is a Season and had done the first set of edits, and started sending it off chapter by chapter to the next person who would tell me what was wrong with it, I pulled out Viennese Yarns for my expected joyful read and touch up.

Alas and alack!  In the 14 years since it first flowed from my keyboard onto the screen, that computer and a subsequent one had crashed and been replaced.  Other computers had been updated or replaced before they crashed, but there had been two catastrophic crashes with lost data.  Somewhere in there the files of Viennese Yarns had been corrupted.  Huge chunks are simply missing, not only from my hard-drive, but also from the back up.

Always back your work up.  Always.

Since anything that renders my work unavailable, such as fire, earthquake, theft, flood, computer crash, or stupidity is likely to render backups in the same room unavailable as well, my writing is backed up by being sent off-site.  My wonderful son Richard stored it all on his server in another city.  Unfortunately, the version he has of Viennese Yarns is also missing the chunks that the version on my hard drive is missing.

It would be too easy if the paper copy was readily available.  You knew it wouldn't be, didn't you?

I am now spending hours, days, and possibly weeks going through masses of stored paper copies of my writing hoping against hope that I'll be able to find at least some of the missing pieces of Viennese Yarns so that I can reconstruct the book.  Once upon a time the paper copies were neatly stored in labelled boxes.  Through floods, mishaps, curious cats, and nesting mice, the once carefully stored piles of paper have become jumbled.  Some are simply gone forever.  This is going to take much, much longer to write than I had anticipated, and isn't nearly the joyful romp I had looked forward to.

Once Viennese is done the next book will be written from scratch.  It dawned on me somewhere in the middle of Tinctures that Hildegard had been taken off her opium and other potions against her will, and without any counselling, since counsellors hadn't been invented yet.  I know from hearing of and seeing people fight addiction that without the willing participation of the addict, and some kind of support system, it simply won't work.  So I have to write about what happens next before I go on to pick up the poor orphan Winter in Paris.  So, once Viennese is reconstructed, the poor thing, The Glass Room will be written.  It will likely take upwards of a year to write.

That will give me six books in two trilogies.

After Glass is completed, edited, and ready for publication, I have a choice of directions to take.  In the "down times" when the books I was writing had become "stuck" instead of falling into a writers' block I would write something else.  During one of those times I started another trilogy, which starts at the end of the Ice Age and contains Baltic Yarns, Teutonic Yarns, and Chivalry and Chicanery. I could finish that trilogy next, or I could finish the French trilogy which contains Winter in Paris, A Promise to Philippe, and Of Ties and Knots.

Stay tuned.  I'll let you know when I get there.

About the Author  back to the top

Born two years after the end of World War Two, I grew up in New Zealand in a rented farmhouse outside of a small town and was educated at home until High School.  It was an isolated life with only the brother closest to me in age, Ron, for companionship for most of the time.

The two of us compensated for our lack of playmates by inventing children to play with, and inventing lives and backgrounds for their pretend friends.  I've been told I was reading by 5 and writing little fantasies by 7.  By the time I was 8 and Ron was 6 we were writing down the stories of our pretend playmates in order to keep the details straight.

I never did play “house” with my dolls; they were always characters in our stories.  We acted out stories, read to get ideas, and incorporated the things we read into our never ending scripts.

It didn’t occur to me that my pretending could lead to something acceptable in the outside world until I was in High School.  At that point a perceptive and encouraging teacher befriended me and encouraged me to see my endless scribbles as a talent to be developed.

My first publishing credit was a poem published in 1963 in a magazine called The Postman which has long since vanished, and short fiction published in the New Zealand Ladies Home Journal in 1964.

It wasn’t until 1983, with the encouragement of my daughter, Susanne, that I attempted to write a book.  The triumph of the completion of the first book gave me the confidence to begin the first version of Prussian Yarns, which was started in the autumn of 1984.

I'm currently living in British Columbia, Canada, working as a legal secretary, researching genealogy, researching for my writing, and writing another historical novel.

Contact  back to the top

Laurie at laurie@prussianyarns.com

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