Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mind Games

Last week I witnessed a women getting run over by a car. 

Although the woman survived the incident with only cuts and scrapes, the image still burns in my mind. I see her look of dismay and her flailing arms at the moment she was hit. I watch as my mind replays the horror of watching the car push her body into the street like some discarded piece of trash. The vision is as clear as if it were happening again right in front of me.

Episodic memory is a person's unique memory of a specific event. It is not completely understood why we remember certain instances in our life while others go unrecorded, but it is believed that emotion plays a key role in our episodic memories. The emotions we experience at the time help to bake the event into our long-term memory so that it becomes more strongly ingrained.

When I was writing Windborne, I found myself drawing heavily on my episodic memory of events that had happened in my childhood. As I wrote, I relived these experiences and was able to describe them in great detail. Writers of psychological thrillers often employ this technique through the use of flashback. Many times the character's motivation is revealed through incidences that resurface in their episodic memory. These memories are often triggered by something they experience in the present that immediately sends them back into the past where they relive the experience for the benefit of the reader.

Episodic memory is unique to each individual. That is why eye-witness accounts often vary. However, the recounting of the memory will often trigger a similar memory in the listener. This tool can be invaluable in producing empathy. It can help the reader identify and sympathize with a character.

Many readers of Windborne have shared that they experienced similar events in their lives or they remember stories handed down through the generations that were similar in nature. This is a key element in all of my writing...to touch the reader's memory and sensitivities so that they can not only appreciate the story, but also experience it.

Wanda DeHaven Pyle is the author of Windborne, The Stone House Legacy and The Steel Canyon Legacy available on Amazon and Kindle at

Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wandadehavenpyle

Monday, March 6, 2017

History From a Woman's Point of View

The Zorzi Affair by Sylvia Prince is a historical look at women's struggle for equality and education in a world dominated by men. Set in seventeenth-century Italy during the The Scientific Revolution, the author uses the genre of the historical novel to serve as a commentator on the societal mores of the times. In the 16th and 17th centuries, modern science and the scientific method were born; the rate of scientific discovery exploded; giants such as Copernicus, Vesalius, Kepler, Galileo, Harvey, Newton, and countless lesser figures unlocked world-changing secrets of the universe. Fascinated by the changes, young Zaneta Lucia hungers for more knowledge. Faced with an arranged marriage to an older man who would enhance her families social standing, but doom her to a life without books or learning, she dresses as a boy and strikes out on her own to gain an education.

Her journey is perilous and the reader cannot help but make comparisons to the continued struggles for women's rights to equality. The author uses a limited point of view, to let us inside thoughts and feelings of the female protagonist while shading the male point of view from her perspective. By dressing as a boy, she is able to see first hand the differences between a man's view of the world and a woman's view. Zaneta Lucia is often torn between her "masculine" desire for education and her "feminine" desire for love and acceptance.

In historical fiction, the writer’s relationship with a historical character is less intimate than with a fictional character. There are limits to the author’s authority, so he or she cannot know the character completely. In The Zorzi Affair, the character of Galileo is elusive and far away, so some readers may have difficulty identifying with him.

If you enjoy historical fiction in the vein of Ken Follett's work, you will definitely enjoy The Zorzi Affair. I highly recommend it

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Celebrate the Power of Women

In the United States, Women's History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women's Day  in 1911. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women's History Week. The proclamation stated, "From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.
In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women's History Project, Congress passed legislation which designated the month of March as Women’s History Month. As Dr. Gerda Lerner  has noted, 'Women’s history …is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.’ 
As evidenced by the huge turnout for the Women’s March on Washington, awareness of the contributions of women and girls continues to spread and be celebrated throughout the nation.Understanding the struggles of women throughout history will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people.
Celebrate Women's History Month with a free download of The Steel Canyon Legacy. Now through March 5 on Kindle.

The Steel Canyon Legacy

Wanda DeHaven Pyle is also the author of Windborne and The Stone House Legacy.  Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at