I began this adventure with a snippet from a Florida history book about a young girl captured by Barbary pirates and forced to marry the vizier of Morocco. Her grandson became the first senator from Florida. The horror this young girl must have felt touched me. I wondered if she ever found her way back home to her friends and family or were they lost to her forever. What happened to her? And was the story true?
I sought the answers to these questions, tromping the boards of an ancient frigate, exploring the back roads of Florida, standing in the hot sun of the cemeteries on St. Thomas, traveling throughout Morocco, and finally, climbing the Rock of Gibraltar.
The journey was also one of self-discovery. Could I write a novel about this young girl and what happened to her? Could I include our travels and the intrigues on the winding paths of history?
The self-discovery continued. As I completed the chapters, I sat through critique sessions that exposed my own misconceptions, foibles, and vulnerabilities. That wasn’t pleasant, but it was necessary.
The novel is completed and will be published in a couple of months. I sit here now, contemplating several cover designs.
I hadn’t thought that I’d feel scared at this point, but I do. What other misconceptions and vulnerabilities will be exposed? What will the critics say? Will anyone like it?
I don’t know. But every creative person endures the same risks, so onward!