Behind the Scenes: Zale's Tale
Inspiration / Muse:
A friend from the South Jersey Writers' Group told me about a writing contest held by Cat & Mouse Press and sponsored by Browseabout Books, To compete for a spot in Beach Fun, the story had to take place in Rehoboth Beach, a famous summer destination I'd never visited. I almost talked myself out of entering, but thankfully I ignored that voice. I would have missed out on all the fun I had creating this story. I'd always been fascinated with stories about mermaids. Now, I had the chance to shake things up a bit. Since I have two boys of my own, it made sense to develop a small adventure around a merboy instead.
Basically, the story had to live and breathe Rehoboth Beach scenes, foods, locations, and fun times.
By the time I time I learned about the contest, I had less than two months to think up and write a story between 500 and 3,500 words. I studied maps of the area in an attempt to help with the visual of a merboy traveling south along the eastern shoreline. Having never been on a boat offshore in Rehoboth Beach, I encountered some difficulty in describing the landscape accurately from the viewpoint of an ocean creature approaching a sandy beach with strange structures as the backdrop. I also had to imagine the evolving experience of a merboy eating foods that didn't have a tail and scales. Giving the story a shot landed me a spot in the Beach Fun anthology of 25 stories and the chance to autograph copies with other authors.
Meaning behind the cover:
The publisher chose a cover that depicted a crowd having fun at the beach. I was not involved at all in that process. A relief for sure.
Impact / Tribute:
I've had the opportunity to read this story for students at a couple middle-schools. I'm glad I have a part in showing young people just how enjoyable a story can be with images that can free their minds from the every day hardships, if only for a moment.
The tenth in the Behind the Scenes series is planned for July 18, 2020.
at 12:30 AM