The prequel has been released! The Whale Surfaces is now available, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, in paperback and ebook formats.
It was interesting to decide how to show Marcia as a girl who will develop into the woman readers meet in Escaping. Since she has some serious mental issues later on there had to be something there at a young age that could metastasize into the fears and delusions with which she struggles as an adult. The beginnings of her emotional problems and her attempt to get over them on her own had to be part of her childhood and adolescence. Her awareness of the things that happened in the Holocaust, to her family as well as to others, had to also be shown to be a part of her growing-up years, hovering over her life like a cloud.
At the same time, I felt there had to be a spark of some wonderful qualities that society might try to squash but that she would hold close. The adult Marcia exhibits compassion and a sense of fairness, so I made it a point to show the beginnings of these traits in the young Marcia. The seeds of the conflicts she faces as an adult had to begin sprouting in her youth.
In Escaping, Marcia becomes obsessed with the Iranian hostage crisis. Her interest in world events and her sensitivity and outrage at cruelty and unfairness, no matter where it takes place, had to begin at a young age as well. During her growing-up years, many historic events take place, and I included a number of them in the prequel so we can see Marcia's reaction to them. These events include the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the Six-Day War in Israel, the first walk on the moon, the Kent State killings, and the Vietnam War protests on college campuses. As Marcia negotiates the world as she finds it, she must, I felt, develop her priorities. The prequel begins when Marcia is 11 and ends when she is 22. There are six years between the two books, which I leave to readers' imaginations!
I did plumb my own childhood for some of the details in the prequel. These include the Brooklyn apartment in which I grew up (dumbwaiter and all!), visits to the beach, and the college scene. Since Marcia is 28 in 1980, she had to have been born in 1952, and the events and trends of the fifties, sixties, and seventies would certainly influence a young, intelligent, and sensitive child -- especially a child of survivors and immigrants, who have their own fears and expectations.
I hope the prequel fleshes out the character of Marcia, and increases the reader's compassion for her. Please read it, and let me know your thoughts and reactions!
Visit www.RuthsWhale.com to download and read the first chapter now.