Terri Kaiser

My novel has been published. Yes! I kid you not. This last week it debuted on Amazon in paperback and digital formats. The title is The Witness Tree. I’m not going to go into a whole lot, as my dear friend Anna Maria Hansen, a fellow writer and assistant editor of the Price County Review, interviewed me for an article which will be out soon.

During the writing, nine years to be exact, the plot has had many forms, yet the basis of the story remained the same. I will give you the quick run-down. It’s about skeletal remains found in a hollow tree on the back forty of a farm in northern Wisconsin. Despite rethinking this and rethinking that, creatively it was a joy to watch it evolve.

Why did it take so long? Well, there were many times I thought I was finished only to have a new idea keep me up at night. And then there was life itself – family, job, home and the million little things that creep into our daily routine.

There have been many helping hands along the way; people who read the manuscript and gave their opinion, people I sought out for advice, and The Third Story Writers Guild of which I was a long-time member. I would be very remiss not to give a huge shout-out to my fellow column writers, Karen Dums and Peg Zaemisch, along with Anna Maria and all the other members, for their hours of listening sessions regarding the story line, the title and everything else that comes with writing a story that was a bit complex at times. By the way, this is probably the sixth time I changed the title.

In this column I have written about retiring, but honestly, I retired to write. To put my energy (what little I have) into this obsession of mine now that I have the time to reel in my scattered thoughts and get them down and organized.

Approximately ten years ago, I released two romance novels under the pseudonym of Tess Morrison. Those books were a walk in the park compared to this latest story. Part of the problem was that I second-guessed myself every step of the way. It made for a difficult journey, but also helped me get to the point where I had exhausted all the ideas, twists and turns that honestly didn’t work until I thought I had something worth sharing.

If you get a chance to read The Witness Tree, I hope you enjoy it. The characters have a large part of my heart and soul.

On another note, completely off-subject, I went to the grocery store on Sunday, and wouldn’t you know, as I was putting my mask on in the car, one of the straps broke. There was a moment of panic when I realized that was the only mask I had with me. Have you had that happen?

Now, I could have gone in without one I suppose, but that wouldn’t have been the responsible thing to do, and the amount of stink-eye I would have had to endure would have been embarrassing. So, I found a pen, stabbed a hole through the mask, worked to thread the strap through, tied a messy knot and put it on. It was a bit lopsided and probably made me look somewhat deranged, but I was able to enter and safely get my can of pumpkin, my integrity intact.

Interesting how this darned virus has changed us.f

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