Publication of "In This Sign"!
On Tuesday November 14th, we published a long awaited book...In This Sign!
Our own Sr. Mary Martin, prioress, wrote this fantasy novel almost 40 years ago and it has finally seen its day in print. In This Sign follows the story of 11 year-old Patsy, an ordinary girl from small town Ohio who is unexpectedly thrust into the adventure of her life.
All 11 year-old Patsy wants is to go home, but having been mysteriously transported to another world she discovers that she holds the key to their fight against the Dark Ones. To refuse her mission would be to send the Kingdom of Arendolin to its demise, but to accept it will require a bravery and trust beyond Patsy’s imagination. In an adventure of a lifetime, this little girl from Ohio learns that to combat the Dark Ones without she must conquer the darkness within.
An Interview with the Author:
When did you write this book?
I wrote the book between 1979 and 1981. It amounted to about 20 minutes of actual writing time per night. Sr. Mary Elizabeth read each chapter as I finished it. I kept her cliff-hanging for months! Sr. Maria [of the Cross] also read it at some point. Then I put it aside. When we got computers and I was bursar, I typed it into Word, then put it aside again. I did make one half-hearted attempt to have it published but that came to nothing because it was an evangelical outfit and the book is too Catholic.
What inspired you to write it? Why did you choose to write fantasy?
I wrote it because I had read the Ring Trilogy and it became stuck in my head.
I set myself with one over-riding task: to make Patsy's adventures truly life-changing, such that she would be a changed individual when she returned home. The other fantasy novels I had read, including the Narnia Chronicles, seemed to leave everything back in the fantasy world, so that they simply returned home to same ol' same ol'. That was actually one of the hardest parts, getting her to bring the changes back with her. It took a couple of attempts and some outside criticism to get it, but I think I did.
Where did the ideas for your characters come from?
All the characters, like the ones in Sr. Mary Catharine's novel [Amata Means Beloved], are loosely based on sisters in the community. I can't remember who I based Rendil on, however.
What place do you think fantasy, should or could have in a person’s life?
Fantasy in general can be a good way of focusing on the important things in a context where the unimportant everyday things fade away to make room for them.
Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
My favorite character is of course Patsy, who is based loosely on me, except that she has more of a temper, and my hair was darker red. I also enjoy Landon, who is based on Sr. Maria [of the Cross], although she had a much more complex character.
So much time has passed since you wrote In This Sign, is there anything you wanted to change?
From the vantage point of nearly 40 years, I wouldn't change anything I wrote; I really think I got it right. [We think so, too!]
Are you considering writing another novel?
I am not considering writing another novel. Without comparing myself to the great Harper Lee, I can learn from her: Quit while you're ahead and don't let them talk you into it!