This year is my Double Twentieth Anniversary!
Twenty years ago this summer my first novel – The Novice’s Tale – was published (and is still in print as I write this).
But (must there always be a but?) twenty years ago this year I was also given my first diagnosis of breast cancer.
I’m afraid that the latter considerably took the edge off the former. Instead of gearing up for the excitement of my first novel’s debut, I was recovering from major surgery. A summer that should have been bright with success was shadowed instead with pain and fear. Besides that, I was already dealing with the break-up of my marriage, and by the end of the year I had helped my mother close down her own home in another state and gone house-hunting here in Minneapolis for a place we could live together – her to watch over me as I recovered, me to watch over her in her increasing old age – and hopefully make a home for my young sons.
All in all, emotionally and physically, 1992 was not a great year.
Happily, The Servant’s Tale was finished before the cancer-crisis started, but working on The Outlaw’s Tale was a struggle. Still, young sons, aged mother, and the need to make a living are great inspiration to get out of bed and to work in the mornings. And since then – to the good – book has followed book. Unfortunately – and to the bad – I’ve fought through multiple rounds of cancer, one after another. Of that, on the supposition that my experiences in the cancer dance may be of use to someone, over the next few days I’m going to talk about my experiences.
But more of that another time. Because this is also a time of celebration, and to that end, over the next few days, I’m going to be previewing The Novice’s Tale here on my website one chapter at a time. If you’ve never spent time with our dear Dame Frevisse, I hope you’ll seize the opportunity to make her acquaintance.
Of course, if you and Dame Frevisse are already old friends, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to join me in going back to the beginning. It’s been a long journey. And it’s not over yet.