This story first came to me from a friend's suggestion. Sarah pointed me to a published internet article about Fairmount Children's Home. I was fascinated as I read the article and later discovered it not to be true, but the seeds of intrigue had been sown. The birth of the novel began.
I held a meet-and-greet at Frank's Family Restaurant (you MUST try their meatloaf!) in Alliance, Ohio on January 20, 2016. Over 25 people attended the event. I recorded the day's conversations to aid in my note taking. I was given a copy of Russell Wagner's memoir, a gift I treasure and referred to numerous times. I asked those in attendance for everyday stories. I received that and so much more.
In the days, weeks, and months to follow, I received over 70 emails, letters, more memoirs, social media messages, and telephone calls. Oh, the stories I heard! Some I used, many I could not, but the out-poring of support amazed me.
After 11 short weeks, the story was complete. Then came editing. My normal group of focus readers read the novel. As usual a few changes were suggested and a somewhat changed ending was written. Again, they read it. All agreed we were close, but a few tweaks were still required. After a third re-write of the last five chapters, of Home went off to the editors.
I took the suggestion of Mary in Minerva to link this novel to my second work, pieces. My hope is to create a modern-day Hardy Boys series for young adults to seniors. pieces will serve as an anchor for many stories to come (I have already started of bones). No, it's really not a sequel, but revisiting the anchor book, pieces, will give the reader a clearer view of the character Collin Sims that will lead in these future adventures.
I pray this novel stirs your emotions to what may have been had I or you lived in Fairmount. The years of stories and many imagined as well, melted nicely in one time period. The fictional characters of baby Willy, Belle, and Henry will strike a chord with all of us. I hope in the end, you will cheer for the underdog, sneer at evil, and rise above the muddy water to be the best person you could ever be. That's what the Gates' children do within the pages of "of Home."