Friday, August 21, 2009

Passing friends

When I checked the mail, there was a letter from an old friend, Louise Lowry, or so I thought. The letter was from Elizabeth, Louise's daughter, to tell me that Louise recently died. She sent me a copy of the death notice. It still hurts.

Ten years ago, I spent a week with Varan and Louise, having met Louise on the Prodigy forums on UFOs and history. We became friends and I wrote several articles for her website, World of the Strange, articles that were syndicated worldwide after being translated into several different languages.

It was during that visit ten years ago that I conceived and wrote the first draft of Past Imperfect after Louise challenged me. The deal was that I would write my novel and when I finished she would write her book on UFOs and unexplained phenomena. I finished the novel at the end of October, just one month after I visited Louise and sent it to her. She never wrote her book and I didn't know because we were in and out of touch.

Much of my novel was inspired by that visit to Louise and Varan. The research that I did on creating a new life was done at the public library a few blocks from Louise's house. The restaurant where Adrian proposes to Diana is the restaurant where Louise and Varan took me for dinner one night. The hotel where Adrian and Logan meet for the first time is near Louise's house. I went from Louise and Varan's up to the university where the local girl I found in the newspaper archives died on the winding, tree-lined road that parallels the Pennsylvania section of the Erie Canal. I stood at the spot where the girl died. I talked to the teachers and principle at the schools the girl attended and she became the new incarnation of Lynn Sanderson who became Diana Palmer.

Louise is an integral part of Past Imperfect and I owe her a debt for her generosity and for challenging me to write the story. Louise was an amazing woman and I will miss her. When you read Past Imperfect, you will find glimpses of Louise and her kindness and generosity and my memories of that visit ten years ago in between the lines and on many of the pages.

It is through the lens of friendship and experience that writers find inspiration. Louise was my inspiration on this novel and a simple acknowledgment is not enough to thank her for all she has done and for all she was.

Louise Lowry, rest in peace. I will always remember you.

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