Writing is often a little like dreaming, and I can’t pinpoint a particular moment when The Lake of Dreams began. It’s a book I’ve been imagining, on and off, for a very long time. I was a student when Halley’s comet returned in 1986, and I remember being disappointed by how faint and unspectacular it was for its only appearance during my lifetime. I also remember thinking that the comet, with its regular return every 76 years, would be a great way to tie a multi-generational novel together.
Though this story is fictional, I certainly drew on my six years living and traveling in Asia while writing it. Likewise, the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York is the landscape of my childhood, one I’ve returned to often as an adult to explore its many facets, and its beauty. Seneca Falls, with its rich history, is half an hour’s drive from the place I grew up, and the more I read about the social reform movements of the early 20thcentury, especially the women’s suffrage movement, the more intrigued I became about those events, and about the way they continue to shape the present. In my lifetime, too, dramatic social changes have happened, including the ordination of women after centuries of exclusion from the priesthood. I spent several intriguing days in glass studios while researching this book, and even tried my hand at glass blowing. All these elements, and many others, found their way into The Lake of Dreams.