The “Why” of Family Lines
Family Lines began when I was
frustrated by the delay in finding a publisher for Growing Up Nigger
My writing is always a kind of serendipity—finding things not sought.
It is a blend of unconscious memories, interests and events, a synthesis
or synergy/. But most important is the inseparable family and culture.
A reader asked, “Where did you get the idea for Family Lines? Did you
see the film Mystic?” My answer was, “No, I do not know the
One thing I do not do when I am writing is to read other authors and
watch movies or television. I never want to be influenced, even unconsciously,
by currently “popular” trends and events. This is not to say
that I am not affected by the world in which I live for nothing is original
with me. My writing is the result of life orientation and experiences,
as with everyone.
Family Lines grew out of my social scientific, historical, environmental
concerns and metaphysical interests. The most direct story stimulus came
from a conversation with my husband. I said something in the early days
of my awareness. He said, “You think computers are clean technology. Computers
are the dirtiest technology around.” He, then, rattled off chemicals
whose names I can not recall or spell. He was a designer of clean rooms
for experimentation for a major communications industry. From this startling
comment the plot for Family Lines grew.
The chemical, “phifomel,” that Rosamund and Jeffrey investigate,
was “made-up. “ I was searching for an approximation of an unknown
and unpronounceable term. Dectel Global, the giant corporation where Rosamund
and Jeffrey work is a reaction to observations of Corporate America when I was
a corporate wife. Making–up is the fun of writing. It is the truth beyond “fact.”
A lifetime of reading, especially mystery and detective stories when I was
young, makes me to want to leave as much as I can to the reader’s imagination.
As I recall, Ellery Queen, Erle Stanley Gardener and other mystery and detective
writers were my favorite authors as I entered my teens. They allowed for the
intelligence of the reader, along with their own competence in the areas they
The manuscript was completed in 1996, six years before it found a publisher.
I was not influenced by the turn of the century business scandals. My teaching
made the currents in society, today, apparent long before the popular press
My effort is always interdisciplinary and multi-focused. Family, science,
art, history, any and all aspects of life are interwoven. I don’t see a singular
genre as determining the story. As the Native American seer said, “All
things are connected.”