Books & Writings of Gina
Creative Writing

Write What You Know?

In writing The Gypsy Pall, I told myself I am qualified to write this novelette. After all, I know gypsies. I come from a line of Bohemian gypsies on my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. I also hail from a line of Appalachian folks who somewhere along the line courted and married Native Americans on my paternal grandfather’s side. And, some of them became farmers.  So, I have it covered: mysterious exotic gypsies, simple country farmers, magical Appalachian folk.  Yes, I am a mutt; it’s okay. The characters in the novel represent several cultures.

I also know love, as every lucky person does. Not the flowery, send-me-a-card, call-me-every-minute kind of love necessarily, but the “I’ll stay with you even when it’s difficult” kind of love. In the novelette, Amos Hay loves his wife, Martha. He continues to love her through her obsession with sex for several reasons. First of all, he has a commitment to her which he does not take lightly. Secondly, and probably most importantly, he knows her obsession is his fault. He brought the condition on her through his visit to the gypsy.

I didn’t know a great deal about the dust bowl days. I had to research the time period. Interestingly, I discovered that the dust bowl days did not result in every farm in the Midwest being blown away. Some places were hit harder than others. It was a combination of man-made and natural disasters. Bad farming practices combined with drought conditions led up to the worst storm on Black Sunday, April 14, 1935, with 60 mph winds and a cloud of dust that looked like a wall of black descending on the plains.  The Gypsy Pall is set in a time prior to the worst part of the dust bowl days.

I liked that the phrase “Dirty Thirties” could be a double-entendre.

And, though I’m not sure I should admit it, I know sex. Of course, I researched this steamy subject with my sexy husband. It required lots and lots of practical hands-on research. Naturally. And the really odd stuff came from my imagination.

I liked the element of blameless bad behavior. Who wouldn’t want guilt-free sex? What could be more guilt-free than being released from accountability for your actions because they are the result of a hex? Amos realizes this toward the end of the novelette and succumbs to the lure of guiltless passion.

There is no detail given of the incantations involved in the “pall” cast by the gypsy or the “doings” of the Widow Teague. We wouldn’t want to accidentally trigger such events, would we? This is said with extreme tongue-in-cheek.

Can a scene be sexy if it’s weird? I hope so! I set out to write a book that presents erotica in a different way. I hope I succeeded with The Gypsy Pall.


2 Responses to “Write What You Know?”

  1. Hi Gina,

    Good on you for the, er, active research…I’m kind of struggling with the how-much-do-I research-now conundrum, not wanting to let anything interrupt the flow but terrified of putting something in that the book swings on, then discovering later on that I’m depending on an impossibility. The joys of different genres!

    Do let us know how you’re finding self-publishing as you go…


  2. Hi Si,
    Yes, well the active research comment was very tongue-in-cheek. lol.
    I understand your writing dilemma, but think you should not let it worry you so. I have read a number of things in books that would be utterly impossible, but if the writer presents it in the right way, the reader doesn’t notice it is impossible or is able to suspend disbelief. Actually, a great deal of sci-fi, horror, and fantasy stories have impossibilities in them. Let’s look at Lord of the Rings. A wonderful tale. But nearly all of it impossible!
    So far the self-publishing route has been interesting, but I need to find a way to pump up the sales. Self-promotion is an important part of this process, I am learning.
    Thanks for your comment. What genres are you working in?

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