One evening in the summer of 2009 I walked down to the very back of our farm, November Hill. I was standing on the slope looking across at the "hundred acre wood" that lies behind us, when a huge herd of deer came from behind me, leaping together in such a way that it seemed they never touched the ground, their brown bodies arching away from me, down the hill, up the other side, and into the forest. White tails were flashing as they went. The herd was so large this took awhile. I stood, feeling like magic was happening. And then the last deer passed. She slowed and stopped. She turned and looked at me, and then leaped out of sight, hidden instantly as she entered the tree line.
Ted Andrews in his beautiful book, Animal
Speak, says that deer often symbolize
a call to adventure. An invitation to a journey that might take several years
to come to fruition. For days after that encounter, I kept seeing the image of
that deer who stopped and turned back. I kept feeling the call.
And that's how November Hill Press was born.
Nearly a year later, I had another encounter
with the November Hill deer. It was evening. They were standing in the arena, a
place I've never seen them. There were five of them. They were eating acorns
under the big oak tree.
Ted Andrews says in his book Nature-Speak that the oak symbolizes strength and endurance
winning out, and opening to new spirit forces. He says the acorn is a symbol of
fertility and fruition and the manifestation of creativity, and that the
presence of acorns in a meaningful way can be a sign that the fruit of our
efforts over the past year or two is about to be harvested.
Bear with me as I move through the seasons
and take this journey. It's part of this process, and I'm trying to honor it
while keeping to my original goal - which is letting these acorns fall.
Addendum, November 2012:
November Hill Press has published four
novel-length titles, one short, and one nonfiction title. There are two more
books very close to publication date, and another novel in progress. The act of
getting these titles out has been at times frustrating but always exciting.
Watching each book find its readers has been an experience worth all the
frustration. And that journey is still very much underway.
Someone asked me recently why it is I took
this path with my books. The answer is simple: I believe in the writing process
above all else. That when one immerses oneself into the depths of a story,
gives it space and time and energy, what comes forth has power and heart and
soul. Sadly, the traditional publishing process does not always nurture the
writer and her process, and it does not always honor the unique and distinctive
voice. Sometimes things are rushed, other times things move so slowly the
writer finds herself stuck in the gears of a gigantic clock. Sometimes writers
are asked to change key elements to make the books more marketable. I have
witnessed this go both directions - at times the books are made better but it's
at least equally true that at times the books are made worse. Sometimes writers
have to strike out on their own and find paths that can be walked with a freer
My heartfelt belief is that readers respond
to well-crafted stories and unique voices. And that my unique voice has to do
with capturing and portraying nuance in setting and depth of character. When I
walk into a room I look at the details. I notice the tiny things. I feel the
mood and the energy. And I watch and listen to people - how they move, what
they say, how what they do with their bodies contradicts the words that come
out of their mouths. Every person who encounters another person brings a story
to that meeting. As a writer, I love to untangle my characters' stories and see
where they started, and where they might lead.
As we move toward 2013 I am proud of the
titles that are out and I look forward to bringing new books to more readers.
It's a personal and professional journey. November Hill Press lives in the
heart and soul of November Hill Farm, where at any hour of the day you will
hear the tapping of keyboards, the whinnies of horses, the braying of two
little donkeys, Corgwn barking, and a covey of cats doing all the independent
things cats do.
I welcome and appreciate your support.