Challenges Ahead

Only a few chapters left, and the last ones are the hardest. I’m not sure how much falls under the difficulty of concluding a complicated mystery and how much resides in the events of my own life. I guess it doesn’t matter. Ivan’s Wife has been a wonderful, frustrating, heart-wrenching experience to write. The characters are multi-dimensional and, at times, disturbing. Still, I love the characters and want to do them justice. Although Pages in the Wind was challenging, Ivan’s Wife has been my biggest challenge.

In this chapter, Dimitri, the main character, learns why he was coaxed to Russia. The secrets are life-changing; he must reach into whatever strength he has left to handle what lies ahead. 

I stepped across the austere room to the only window and pulled back the red linen drapes, coughing as dust exploded like dirty snow in my face. The narrow casement window overlooked the fountain and swung outward. Outside, the mist and wind were breathy and smelled like gardenias, so I cranked the handle to invite clean air into the misery. It wouldn’t budge. I glanced at the steel vault door and realized it would be hard to escape. It was on the third floor, and the window was stuck and had thick glazing bars. My heart quivered for a few seconds before regaining its rhythm. Without the roar of water spilling into the fountain and soothing wafts of fresh air, there was no way to let the gloom out. I felt trapped and garroted by the insanity that breeds from isolation.

Crowded Room

Crowded Room

Ivan’s Wife is almost in the edit stage. Hardest ending ever. But, who likes simple? Not me. I’ve enjoyed the characters and the crazy parallels. In this excerpt, Dimitri finds his private room invaded. There is an interesting parallel at the end he won’t see coming.

I carefully set down my mother’s picture and listened. It had to be my imagination, like waking up in the middle of the night thinking you’d heard a suspicious noise downstairs. But, when I turned toward the door, I noticed two shadows poised like evil specters in the hallway. It was true. My sanctuary had been invaded. 

And the door had no lock. 

Another knock. A little heavier this time. But, still oddly rhythmic. Not a man’s knock. One knuckle. Three taps. Hardly a demand to open the door but not tentative either.

“Uncle Dimitri?”

“Shit,” I whispered, feeling blood rush like storm troopers to my head. Prickly sensations crept through my body as every muscle readied for battle. Anna. No way could I allow her to get away with invading my private space. A place that, until now, was known only to me. The safe haven where I talked with my mother.

Two More

Two more chapters and Ivan’s Wife is finished. The final two chapters are challenging but my characters will come through. In this chapter, Dimitri arrives in Moscow for his father’s long awaited opera.

It was easy to get lost in the magic of the old theatre. I could feel the creative presence of musicians taking the stage to share their art with theatre goers over the last two centuries. Whether it was war or famine, triumph or sorrow, music had the ability to touch the hearts of friends and enemies in much the same way. A myriad of emotions, nurtured through the passing of time, rippled through the theatre and quieted my racing heart. If only music could have united my father and me—if only for a time. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed Dimitri. He was a pleasure to develop and I’m not ready to let him go. Thankfully, I have one more edit before the book goes to print.