The Finding Place: Ten Days to Go!
Each day, for the next ten days, I will be posting a Behind-the-Scenes glimpse at one part of The Finding Place. These blogs will conclude with the release of my novel, ten days from now!
Raizel’s Chocolate Shop
Kelly’s special friend in The Finding Place is a girl by the name of Raizel. Even in the earliest draft of the novel her personality and her unusual name were very clear to me. However, her home wasn’t featured in the novel as it is now. Instead, the girls met to chat in a coffee shop that might easily have been Starbucks, or Second Cup. They drank hot chocolate, sitting opposite each other, and discussed their absent dads. There was something wrong with all this, but it took me a long time to figure out what it was. Then, one day, I was teaching a creative writing class. Critiquing a young student’s fiction, I pointed her to a key scene that took place on a bus. “Can you think of somewhere more interesting to place this scene?” I asked her. “Could they be traveling in something more memorable and distinct than a bus? Or could you make the bus journey unique in some way? Maybe they miss their stop? Forget their wallets?”
That’s when I had my eureka moment. The coffee shop in my novel was all wrong.
I was shopping, later that day, in the Junction area of Toronto, and my daughter asked for an ice cream. I saw a sign advertising ice cream outside an unusual and funky little shop, so we went in. It was a tiny place that also sold homemade chocolates, and right above and behind the counter was a little window. I thought, what a cool bedroom that would make! I imagined a little girl growing up to be a teenager, sleeping behind that window. Every night she would climb a rickety ladder to get to her bedroom, and look down through that window directly into the chocolate shop. I imagined her mom – or a friend – tossing chocolates up to her through the window… and voila! Kelly’s heart-to-heart with her best friend came to life with the help of a far more distinct and interesting location.
When next we see Raizel and Kelly together, it’s at the 7-Eleven, which I guess is a little less inventive. But it’s late at night, there’s a secret involved, and the girls encounter gunshots and sirens… so I guess that’s okay.