“The way I write, I have a novel in my head for a long time that I think about, and in those months it is so beautiful, so incredibly profound . . . The novel in my imagination travels with me like a small lavender moth making loopy circles around my head. . . . As soon as I start to put it on the page I kill it.” ~ Ann Patchett

A friend sent me this quote from Ann Patchett several weeks ago, and I have read it every day since. It perfectly describes the challenge, and possibly burden, I have been feeling lately when I sit down at my desk to work. Simply put, I have fallen in love with the characters walking through the pages of THE FUNERAL DRESS, and I desperately want to share their stories as honestly as I can. Anything less and I will feel as though I have failed them.

At times, I am bound by my words, so incapable of translating the images in my head onto paper. Then there are moments when it seems as though the words literally drip from my pencil onto the page. (Yes, I do use a pencil.)

Lorena Lane and Nolan King, among others in Cullen, Tennessee, have morphed from a figment of my imagination to nothing less than human – every day trusting me with a little more of their own stories. And every morning when I sit down at my desk to write, I wonder if I am up to the task, if I can take them where they need to go.

Posted February 28, 2011 at 10:20 am · 5 comments · Leave a Comment


  1. Rachel Unkefer, February 28th, 2011, 1:58 pm

    I hear you, Susan. I struggle with the same issue. It's daunting sometimes to realize you are the only person in the world who can write that particular story and that you have one shot at doing it justice.
  2. Connie Hein, February 28th, 2011, 7:04 pm

    I know what you mean Susan!~ But your characters in the other two books have come alive so much and i have purchased so many copies for friends and realtives that they are like part of the family. I have no doubt that the characters in your next book will be just as treasured by your many faithful readers! including ME!
  3. ellen ward, March 2nd, 2011, 7:05 am

    You are definitely up to the task. I love you that you are such a tremendous writer that you worry about that, instead of stressing over deadlines and cranking out words and the commercial trappings. Can't wait to read some new Gilmore! Please send pages!!!!!
  4. Barbara G. Tucker, April 12th, 2011, 9:42 am

    So true! I think only persons who write fiction seriously can understand that our characters are real to us. I see people randomly at malls and public places and say--"that's what so-and-so in my book looks like!" I love your blog. I also enjoyed meeting you last night at Dalton State.
  5. Anita, April 13th, 2011, 6:23 pm

    Hi Susan, I just finished reading The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove, and I loved it. I admit I'm a little sad that she was not loved the way she longed for, the way I had hoped she would be. I loved her obit, so touching, thank you for rounding it out for us. While I read I admit I hated her mother, but then so much I didn't understand about her, and then I lost all respect for Bezellia's grandparents. I picked up the book because it was chosen as our group read on goodreads southern lit group. We've been talking about it all month. I'll be reviewing on my blog soon, and I plan to read your first novel, and any more that you write.....I'm your newest fan!! Thank you so much for a wonderful read.

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Susan Gregg Gilmore