Fiction with vision and visions We recently chatted with novelist Catherine Lanigan about the challenges of finding an audience for her new novel, Wings of Destiny.
Wings of Destiny is the story of two families entangled in a generations-long struggle; the conflict between the Dukes and The House of Su dates back to the Chinese opium war. The Duke lineage began with the illicit relationship between Jamaican plantation owner Ambrose Duke and his slave, Yuala. Destinies converge and a battle of good and evil ensues in San Francisco in the late 1800s, where Nan-Yung Su is driven to destroy forever the family of Ambrose and Yuala's grandson, Jefferson Duke.
The scope of Lanigan's novel is global, ranging from the Caribbean to the Forbidden City in China, and is decades-long. That span is scarcely grand enough to encompass this unforgettable tale.
BookPage: You wrote the novelizations for Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. Wings of Destiny is a multi-generational saga, complete with ghosts and paranormal phenomena. What compelled you to write a story so different from what you've been writing? Catherine Lanigan: I always write from my heart in that, all of my books are the same. But Wings of Destiny is my soul. It is the one book about which I'm over-the-top-passionate. In the 20-plus novels I've written, I've done several multi-generational sagas. I love their scope and depth. This kind of book is rather like taking a scalpel to life, slicing through layer after layer to come to the raison d'etre. To me, that is our spirituality. Through this book I hope to open the eyes of each reader to see herself, where she came from, and where she's going in a way she never dreamed or imagined for herself.
BP: It took a little-known publisher to launch Tom Clancy. Likewise, your publisher is taking a leap of faith with you. What do you hope this demonstrates to booklovers? CL: It is true that Peter Vegso at HCI is taking on an enormous challenge in the publication of this novel. By the virtue of his faith in this book, he is opening an entirely new genre of fiction. Can you imagine? Writers like myself, who have been turned down, rejected, scoffed at, and even ridiculed by countless publishers Wings was rejected over four dozen times in 13 years will find an avenue where our out of the box imaginations and passions will have a chance to be heard. My favorite story about Wings of Destiny was over a decade ago when my agent took it to the head of a prominent publishing house, and the editor read it and said, There's a ghost from the future as a main character. Everyone knows there's no such thing. Stonefaced, my agent replied, You never read A Christmas Carol? Next! Visionary fiction is destiny driven. I know I am following my divine path in seeing this book to publication. Though I can't speak for Peter, his actions certainly show that he shares this belief.
BP: Where does your writing go from here? CL: I have two nonfiction books contracted with HCI currently. The Evolving Woman: Intimate Confessions of Surviving Mr. Wrong is a compilation of letters I have received over the past five years from responses to my national publicity campaigns for Mira Books, in which abused women relate how they found the courage and faith in themselves to escape from abusive marriages and relationships. The fact that two publishers are supporting my mission to help families who are victims of violence says a great deal about the heart and soul of the caring commitment they have to making the world a better place.
Angel Watch, the second book from HCI, is a series of factual accounts of paranormal and angelic intervention experiences in my personal life and those of my family and close friends. These are the real stories behind Wings of Destiny and how this book came into being. This is a book I have lived.
Other than that, I have three visionary fiction novels, fully formed in my head, but yet to write. Not to mention another half-dozen paranormal adventures, both contemporary and historical. I have no fear that I will ever run out of tales to tell. ¦ Sandy Huseby writes from her homes in Fargo, North Dakota, and Nevis, Minnesota. She is online at SHuseby@aol.com.