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July 1, 1837

            I’ve unpacked my meager belongings, having sold whatever I could to purchase passage to America. Many of the things were Da’s, things he’d given me as I was growin up. Many were bribes to keep me quiet about what he did to me. Mayhap I shouldn’ta kept them but they help me remember there were good times, too, when da wasn’t in his cups. But it’s over now, and my seasickness has passed. Mrs. Wheeler’s tea she gave me yester eve helped some.

            She’s a sweet widow lady who has kindly offered to teach me a trade to make a livin for my wee bairn and myself. She’s goin to teach me to sew. Lord, I hope I’ll be a good student and be able to make enough money so I can stay home to watch my child and not have to beg, borrow, or steal. It would be good to be able to hold my head high.

            I did keep a few things that were precious to me. There’s a quilt my mam and aunties made for me when I was a wee lass. It’s a little tattered and worn, but it carries the warmth I treasure in my heart from my family. Then there’s the locket, a picture in either side of my mam and my da. I mightn’t keep the picture of my da. If my wee one would ever want to know who the man was, how would I tell him that man is his da and his seanair? And lastly, there’s a ring with the family crest engraved in the gem in the setting. Perhaps one day these things will be passed on to my wee one.

I’m thinking of using this as the opening of the first book in my trilogy. Does it grab your attention? Does it make you want to read more? This is a journal entry from a Scottish immigrant. Is this a strong or a weak opening? If you read an entry like this from your deceased mother’s journal, how would that impact you? How would you feel? Would it change your perception of who you are, especially if you’re a young man with two toddler children?


Author Request Feedback

I know. My last post said I wouldn’t be posting again until Monday and this is only Saturday. My mother-in-law is doing well and doesn’t need me today. But I’ve gotten so far behind in my writing course with Dream, Play, Write that I have to work on this before I get back into my research.

Here’s the situation. My main character is a 15-year-old girl with two half-brothers. Her mother has recently died and she hasn’t seen her father since she was two. Her mother’s boyfriend is in jail for assault and battery. She and her brothers are currently living with a nice widow lady who has guardianship. Meanwhile the authorities are trying to locate her biological father and any other relatives. The 15-year-old is Kayla.

Kayla has found a journal that has been kept hidden and has been in the family for generations. She comes across a letter written by what seems to be her great-great-great grandmother to her great-great grandfather, giving details of his parentage. It seems that great-great-great grandmother fled Scotland in order to avoid having to tell her family that the child she was carrying was the product of her father raping her.

My question: Kayla is getting ready to meet her biological father. He of course, has no idea that this letter exists. Even if he and his family are willing to take Kayla in, how is she going to feel toward him? Is she going to be terrified of all men? How would she dress for this initial meeting? Would she tell him about the letter or would shame and humiliation keep her silent? How will this initial meeting with her father go down? It will be a supervised meeting because Kayla doesn’t want to be left alone with him after reading that letter.

Her father has been married to his current wife for eleven years and they have three kids together. He has talked to his family about Kayla’s situation.

Tell me what you think. Thanks for all your help.