Although I can’t claim to have first-hand experience of the subject matter of my latest short story – I’m not old enough, if nothing else! – “Snow on the Roof” does draw on what I know. The story was inspired by people I know, all of whose partners have died, all of whom expected to live out their lives alone – and all of whom, often to their own surprise, found love again after the age of 70.
In “Snow on the Roof”, Marian and Hal are “winter Texans” who met on the golf course. Hal persuades Marian to go with him to spend Christmas with his daughter’s family in Michigan. There’s conflict, tears, laughs, and trifle, plus of course a penguin, which is an obligatory feature in all my writing. (It keeps my editor happy!)
The only reason I know of the term “winter Texans” is that my own parents are two examples. They’ve spent every winter since 1991 in the same mobile home park in Harlingen, which is the one I used in the story. Their lives there are a social whirlwind that, frankly, exhausts me when I visit them. I’ll be spending Christmas with them and their many friends this year. Wish me luck in surviving the parties!
The photo I used on the cover is another “what you know” aspect of this story. I saw that view almost every day of my life until I left home to go to university: it’s the view from the kitchen window of the house in which I grew up, in Canada. Being a scan of a poor-quality print, it couldn’t be used large enough to fill a cover that meets the dimensions required for a Kindle, so I decided to play on that and present it as a photo in an album.
A colleague at work saw the cover on my computer screen, and marvelled at all the snow (I live now in Sydney; we don’t do snow). She’s in her late 20s, and I wondered if she would recognise the reference to the phrase “there may be snow on the roof, but there’s a fire in the furnace”. She didn’t, so I summarised it as “sexually active seniors”. Her reaction was a horrified “Gross!” I guess I can rule her out as a reader.