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Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


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Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

I’m honored to be taking a writing class through San Diego Writers, Ink with Drusilla Campbell, who has published a number of well-selling novels, including Wildwood, Blood Orange, Bone Lake and The Edge of the Sky. The class is called "Novel Read and Critique."

I’m working on my novel, which has been perking around in my head and on paper in various iterations since 1995. How long is that now? Wow, 14 years. Unbelievable. Many people would probably say, Get off the pot already! The thing is, I’ve tried to get off the pot and this story will not let me go. It’s definitely a case of the story choosing the writer.

My life has volleyed on with this story dancing like sugarplums (well, maybe dancing like skeletons- it's on the dark side) even when I wished it would leave me alone. The kernel of the story is downright scary- the murders of hundreds of women in Juarez, Mexico- even though my characters are filled with light. The scary factor has definitely challenged my resolve to continue at times.

But my characters won't give up on me. They peer over my shoulder while I'm busy with other things, with life in general. Since Marisol, Liseta and Alma first entered my mind, John and I have gotten married (1998) and we now have two very active sons (7 and 9). I transitioned from social work to a number of jobs; I taught ESL for a while, I started my own business, Memory Quilt Memoirs, which included a subdivision, Wedding Day Story Book. I even did Welcome Wagon for a stint. One thing I learned for sure is that I am not a Welcome Wagon Woman.

Writing continued as my comfort space, but I was not confident enough to try it as a means of earning money. But my husband John saw that my inner being ran free on the written page- writing was where I found creative flow- so he encouraged me to try my hand at freelance writing. So I did, and have been freelancing since my first published piece in January 2004.

To accomplish something I was never sure I could manage, and yet always hoped to, has been gratifying. My articles have appeared in San Diego Family Magazine, Today’s Local News, San Diego Magazine and The San Diego Union-Tribune. I've also completed online city guide projects in collaboration with MSN, Ford and Toyota. For the past three years I’ve been a contributing writer for Living in Style Magazine, a fantastic experience which included ongoing "Live Your Dream" profiles as well as health and wellness features.

Living in Style Magazine has recently folded- something I’m still mourning. But with every closed door… you know that little cliché. Optimism works, though. I see this chapter as a chance to focus on finishing my novel, which has evolved to rough draft stage over the years.

I have the courage now to offer it up to be poked at and prodded- and the determination to wrestle with it until it is an actual full-fledged, flowing story with strong legs to walk forward on its journey into the world. So my draft is in the poke and prod stage in Drusilla’s class now.

My novel’s working title is Sisters of Aguamiel. It is the story of three sisters living on their ancestral farm, Aguamiel, in murderous Ciudad Juarez. Things happen. People cope, sometimes well and sometimes not well at all, leading to wretched moments and hurdles of all kinds.

More to come…

1 Comment(s):
Athena said...
The story sounds great, I can't wait to read it! You are a very talented writer, I'm sure you will have success with this new adventure!!
October 31, 2009 04:56:41
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