Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Spirit and Guts

Last night, I watched "Frequency" for the umpteenth time. The film is a time travel lover's dream. It's everything I love about the possibility of time travel: discovering love and changing lives for the better. This movie doesn't really focus on the traditional romance of man and woman although moments between husband and wife are beautiful and sweet. The driving force of this feature film is the time defying bond between father and son. Their love and faith in each other propels the story through triumph to tragedy until it reaches the tearjerker ending.

In 1999, John Sullivan tinkers with his father's old transistor radio and connects with Frank Sullivan in 1969. When John realizes that Frank is his firefighter father, John warns his dad about an upcoming fire that will claim the fireman's life. The tragic day arrives and Frank heeds his son's warning. Everything changes. Via the transistor radio, John is finally able to communicate with the father he lost thirty years ago and the two work to solve the mystery of the Nightingale Killer. The movie is a wonderful blend of suspense, angst and love with tidbits of comedy thrown in for good measure. And to top it off, "Frequency" has a great line that encourages everyone to go for their dream…at least that's how I interpret "spirit and guts."

Writing my debut novel, "Love Lasts Forever" required a good deal of both spirit and guts. Starting with the spark of an idea and two voices in my head that wouldn't go away, the words came and I typed. The spirit of Thor and Willow refused to give me rest and I was more than happy to be their typist.

In addition to loving time travel movies, I love books about the subject, too. I've read many time travel romances. My keeper shelf is loaded with them. Although each story is dear to my heart, I felt like there was a void. When I started "Love Lasts Forever," Octavia Butler's "Kindred" was the only time travel novel I'd read featuring an African-American heroine. I never doubted that women of color enjoyed the subject and wanted to read time travel romances featuring a heroine who resembled them. But the choices were limited.

I received some opposition when I started submitting my novel to critique groups. One person critiqued that Willow, a freedwoman of color, was too educated for that time period. That's just one example. Overall, I received more encouragement than negativity from the others who critiqued my work. Actually, I expected some stereotypical ideas to filter in. Without a healthy dose of spirits and guts, I might have quit then, tucked the manuscript away and wondered what might have been. Nah, that would have been the coward's way. Not that I don't have moments of cowardice. I believe we all do in different circumstances. Thor and Willow's story meant too much for me to give up on them. I knew when I started typing the first chapter that an interracial romance set during the 1860s would be a tough sell.

What can I say? Spirits and guts. Use the two to get your dreams rolling. You may surprised by what happens next.

Dominiqua Douglas
Love Lasts Forever (Genesis Press, Inc. - Available NOW!)
4 Stars from RT


L. Faye Hughes said...


I've never seen Frequency, but I'm definitely adding it to my DVD rental list based on your description.

I'm also adding LOVE LASTS FOREVER to my TBR list. It sounds great!

Dominiqua Douglas said...

I hope you'll enjoy both! Have some tissues handy for the ending of Frequency. I cry every time.

Nancy Herkness said...

I love "spirit and guts"! My family adopted the mantra from the movie GALAXY QUEST: "Never give up, never surrender!" "Spirit and guts" is even better and certainly describes what's required to survive as an author. Thanks for the new motto!

Dominiqua Douglas said...

I have to see Galaxy Quest. I've heard so much about it. Any movie that inspires is a movie for me.

Nancy Herkness said...

The funny thing about GALAXY QUEST is that although it's a spoof of Star Trek (one of my all time favorite shows) and a hilarious one at that, it IS inspiring. You'll laugh alot but you may also find yourself crying just a bit.

Allison Brennan said...

Dominiqua, I LOVE Frequency! It's a fabulous movie and I can watch it over and over. Great post, you are so right about perseverence!!!

Nancy, I'm also a Star Trek fan and I loved Galaxy Quest. It was one of the best spoofs ever done because it was also original in many ways. The premise is fantastic.