I've always been partial to long book reads. Quick
"airport pocket novels" are not my style. I prefer abundant, well-written
stories which carry the reader through several days rather than just a few hours.
What's the point of settling down with a good book if you can't enjoy it for a
period of time?
The Collective Obsessions Saga
was originally hatched from my first full-length novel titled "Larkin" (now
book three in the saga, known as The Twain Shall Meet).
I wrote the story in its initial form in 1984. Over the ensuing years, the tale
took many different directions.
More than two decades after the book was finished,
I had the seemingly impossible notion to continue the family saga.
Some of the characters cried out for more -
closure if you will - so I went back and created the beginning.
EVOLUTION OF COLLECTIVE
In essence, more than half the
Collective Obsessions Saga was already written with the likes of
The Advent, The Twain Shall
Meet and The Keeper's Journal. These books turned
into "parts" in the saga with their corresponding time periods in the storyline.
However, since I was never too thrilled with the book titles (one of which was
out of my control), they were changed for their appearance in the saga. The
"missing years" also have new scenes and characters, most of which were created
as I went along.
The series begins with The
Advent, which runs from 1865 to 1920. Since there was a forty-one
year gap between The Advent and the next story (The
Twain Shall Meet), I wrote a new second part for "Collective Obsessions"
titled Quixotic Crossings, which takes place between
1926 and 1958 and involves more about the characters of Claude Mondoux, Phoebe
McGarren and Colm Sullivan.
Larkin was renamed The Twain Shall Meet (covering
1961-1975), to be followed by a new part called
Enthrallment (1980-1992), which brings to light the origins of Carly
O'Reilly and her relationship with the unknowing Liam Larkin. The late-in-life
reunion between George Sullivan (aka Ben Webb) and Susan O'Reilly is
revealed, and the gentle romance between Sean Larkin and Dana Maitland is
explored. Jack Sansovino makes his debut in Enthrallment,
the fiendish character becoming a dramatic part of the saga finale.
Fall of the Curtain comes next (now known
as The Keeper's Journal), which takes place between
the years 1994-1995. Following this, Hearts Desires
(1996-2000) describes more interweaving between the next generation of the
Sullivan and Larkin families, as well as the lives of Brose Larkin, Jamie Page
and Angie Cimarelli. Jack Sansovino also resurfaces, his influence heavily felt
The Twilight is a new
part of Collective Obsessions, covering the years
between 2001 through 2004 and detailing the surprising death of a long-time
character. The last part of the saga became Megan's Legacy.
The story ends in 2008, which signals a coda for the chronicle.
Part of the long writing process for the
Collective Obsessions Saga involved killing off some of
my favorite characters in the storyline. It's only natural as people age with
each additional story. They cannot live forever. It might have been easier to
leave the saga at four books, with some of the characters remaining immortal
because I hadn't written proper endings for them. In creating the new parts, I
was forced to look at existing characters that were obviously aging. Some of
them were "killed off" while others died naturally. I did away with some of them
gently, while others met insidious endings.
I mapped out a detailed family tree to avoid
inconsistencies throughout Collective Obsessions and
created a spreadsheet to track character quirks and descriptions. The books
became one enormous project which involved more than two decades of writing and
research, with several pit-stops in between as I carried out my own life.
Since I'm a writer often inspired by images, my
spreadsheet for Collective Obsessions became naturally
larger as time progressed, but also included thumbnail pictures of people I felt
represented my fictional characterizations. The images were not indicative of
true personality traits of real people by a long shot, but rather a general idea
of what I envisioned as the "outer shell" of each character. For instance, I
based John Larkin's appearance on David Selby, who portrayed Quentin Collins in
the Dark Shadows TV serial. The physical aspects of Mayor David Azoulay,
who appears in Hearts Desires,
The Twilight and Megan's Legacy, was inspired by
Mark Feuerstein, star of the USA Network series Royal Pains. Colm and
Mike Sullivan, who are described as closely resembling one another in the
various storylines, are based on Jason Connery as he appeared in Robin of
Sherwood. Each character had their own snapshot, which rarely changed over
the course of the years.
Thanks to the online "pin-board" known as
now able to share mind's-eye images of my fictional characters. As each book in
the Collective Obsessions Saga is released by Club
Lighthouse Publishing, I will continue to add photos to the
Be that as it may, I would like to emphasize that
all eight books in the Collective Obsessions Saga are
works of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely
Larkin City, Maine is my own creation, although in
my mind it exists between the real cities of Searsport and Stockton Springs.
People assume I chose the locale because of Stephen King's predilection for the
place, but the selection was actually a result of my childhood fascination with
the TV serial Dark Shadows, which was set in the fictional town of
For a writer, characters come alive and take on
quirks of their own. I can't claim to hear my characters actually speaking to
me, but they do develop faces and personas of their own in my sometimes
unpredictable imagination. There were times I become daunted by the size of
Collective Obsessions, but because I know the characters
and the story so well I never lost faith. The process was still very long,
however. There were days I felt as if I was getting absolutely nowhere, but then
there were others that moved quickly to boost my confidence.
Finishing the Collective
Obsessions Saga was bittersweet. While elated the story was finished, I was
also a bit reluctant to let my characters go. They have frolicked in my
imagination for so long, as if part of my soul, that it was hard to turn
that final page over, once and for all.
The writing process left me threadbare on a
personal level, but it was deeply satisfying in all ways that matter to me.
Next: Contact & Credits >
Deidre is a native of
Greenwich, Connecticut. She has also lived in San Francisco, Tucson, Reno
and Spokane, among other US cities.
Her favorite authors
and biggest writing influences include a mixed bag: Evelyn Anthony,
Elizabeth Byrd, James Clavell, Dorothy Daniels, Ken Follett, Marilyn Harris,
Susan Kay, Stephen King, Norah Lofts, Colleen McCullough, Marilyn Ross,
Edward Rutherfurd, Bertrice Small, Barbara Taylor-Bradford, Leon Uris,
Alison Weir and Kathleen Woodiwiss.
In her free time, Deidre loves to read, experiment with cooking, play
computer games and tend to her beloved pets,
Kiki. She also writes under the pseudonyms
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