I started writing No Shadow of Turning in 1999. Snippets of the story had been knocking around my skull since I was a teen.
Recently, I listened to a talk given by Brandy Bruce, editor at Focus on the Family. Her subject was "Creativity." After reading a collection of quotes by famous authors on the subject, she got to the more interesting part of her talk: her own journey toward becoming an editor and author. She said that her tendency to see a story in the most mundane activities --a van with no side or back windows drives by -- and conjure dangerous conspiracies and dark characters inside, impelled her to study writing.
Many writers develop a story based on only the merest mental picture. C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia eventually because of a lingering image in his mind of a fawn carrying an umbrella.
No Shadow of Turning began as an image of a young woman, standing knee-deep in snow, surrounded by dark forest. Her long, blonde hair falls in disarray about her shoulders, as if it hasn't seen a brush in days. Her clothing is ragged. The girl's arms stand out from her body to balance her, as if to aid her should sudden flight be necessary. Her eyes stare into the dense trees, trying to pierce the green barrier.
What is she afraid of? Is she trying to run away from some menace? Why is she all alone in the wilderness?
I had to flesh out the story to satisfy my own burning curiosity. Now my questions have been answered and I can move on.
Yes, move on with more of the woman's story in a sequel.