Three decades ago, the idea of a novel was born inside Moira Darrell's mind. Many people have story ideas, but few are able to follow through to complete a published novel. At first, it seemed like Darrell's novel would be just one of many promising ideas that never came to fruition, but thirty years later, she was finally able to complete "Selena and her Mysteries".
Darrell explained the pandemic gave her the opportunity to get back to her novel, since like most she was staying inside so it was a good time to get back to writing. The thirty year gap had a profound impact on how the book would take shape.
"It was really a compelling story when I started it again, it turned into something different from what it would have been 30 years ago when I was a much younger person. I found that I was really interested in the emotions of it, the friendships, the relationships, things that I had no idea about at that time," Darrell explained.
While the fear of writer's block was something Darrell was worried about, once she got writing she said it all came naturally to her.
"I thought that I wouldn't be able to make all the people have something to say in the end. It turned out that they all had so much to say and I found the conversations flowing easily. I'd be trying to sleep at night and they (thoughts about the book) would keep telling me 'Selena should do this, Mr. X should do this,' and the thoughts just kept coming to me at night. So it was an obsession to just get it all down on paper."
"The characters did actually grab me and pull me along with them. They seem very real to me and they guided me which direction the book should go. The relationships of each character relative to Selena and her mysteries... I got totally engrossed in the emotions that I still have when I read segments of my book: laughter, sadness, I get a tear in my eye, anger at the deceit, and delight at Selena's happy Times, which also have brought a tear to my eye."
Writing interesting characters and compelling dialogue can be much harder than some people may think. For Darrell, she explained her novel was influenced by people, events, and emotions in her life, which helped the book come to life in a natural, organic way. While she doesn't have personal experience with every situation — luckily she's avoided deceit and betrayal — there are several moments that are drawn from her life.
"There's one little story about Selena and her grandfather, and that actually would have happened for my own children walking with their grandfather, so that part of it, that's where I got a little tear in my eye."
Without spoiling the book, Darrell explained the book is about the titular character Selena who has to navigate family mysteries, overcome heartbreaking deceit and make difficult life decisions as she searches for answers in unexpected places and circumstances.
"Duplicity is in the wings, friendships grow stronger, love is whispered, shadows drift by and memories are blurred," the back of the book reads. Darrell added there is more to the book than what you may think when reading the back or hearing a plot synopsis.
"Hidden in this is an entirely different story, when it simply talks about travel, it might not be the travel you're thinking of. When it talks about 'shadows drift by,' they might not be the shadows that you think of," she said.
To add Darrell's first novel to the book collection in your house stop by the Vault Cultural Collective, Serendipity's, and most E-book platforms like Kindle, or Amazon. She also gave a copy to the Strathmore Municipal Library to be checked out.. She says it's for everyone, from the ages of 13-105, though I'm sure she wouldn't mind if any 106 year olds got their hands on the book!