Drawing on Imagination

Art illustrates life

Art illustrates life

Not long ago I watched video of an Olympic cyclist who crossed the finish line to win a gold medal. As she came within a few hundred meters of her goal, she pushed harder and harder, throwing every fiber of her being into the effort to complete her race. She allowed no distractions, no anxieties, nothing to stand in her way. She reached her goal, then immediately collapsed in a heap. I felt admiration for her, but not kinship.

As I come within the writing equivalent of the finish line, I find myself not pushing, pushing, pushing with the last full measure of strength, but instead looking for ways to avoid those last hard yards to completion. And I am now going to share one of the distractions I discovered with you.

In  Dangerous Places, Leah Nash, my main character, has moved into a new loft apartment in downtown Himmel—though that’s not one of the dangerous places. Although I’ve described it in detail in the book, I began to think it might be fun to have a sketch of her new surroundings to include on my website. Because my drawing abilities atrophied somewhere around second grade, I knew that it would not be me converting words to pictures.

Luckily, artist Melanie Lewis agreed to do a couple of illustrations for me. Equally lucky for an introvert like me, Melanie is not only a friend, she’s also a neighbor. My quest required nothing more than a few steps and a one-on-one conversation.

For a few days after that, instead of forging ahead with the conclusion of my mystery novel, I had way too much fun working with Melanie to make my imaginary world seem a little more real. I think she did a great job bringing Leah’s setting to life.

Here is the block in Himmel where Leah now lives. The top floor of the building second from the left is her apartment.

Leah's street--Himmel, WI

Leah’s street–Himmel, WI

And here is the living room of Leah’s loft apartment.

Leah's loft apartment

Leah’s loft apartment

The drawings are now posted on my web site, under the header Leah’s World. There’s already a map of Himmel and of DeMoss Academy, a primary setting in the first book, Dangerous Habits, posted there.

Although I’d like to spend some time stretched out on Leah’s window seat looking down at the goings on in the town of Himmel below, it really is time to get back up on my metaphorical bicycle and pedal my way to the finish line. Where I will no doubt collapse in a dead faint upon arrival.bicycle-691831_640_opt



Easier, Faster, Better


What Price Dignity?


  1. Barbara Hunter

    You’ve worked so hard. As you push forward to finish, I’ll be there with a cold glass of ice water and a warm cookie from the oven. You got this.

  2. Dian Frayser

    Love, love, love Leah’s place. I can just picture her coming home at night, tired, kicking off her shoes, starting her fireplace and looking out the windows as she sits on her window seat, at the rain covered streets below. I WANNA BE THERE, so apparently you’re doing a good job with the book. Looking so forward to it. No rush. Tomorrow maybe?

  3. Thanks, Dian. You’re welcome on Leah’s window seat anytime.

  4. Heather

    Have just finished Dangerous Habits – loved it! Brilliant plot, wonderful characters. Looking forward to Dangerous Mistakes and hoping Leah and Coop’s friendship deepens into something more.

    • Thanks, Heather I’m glad you enjoyed the book. It’s always great to hear from readers, especially when they have nice things to say. ;-). Leah and Coop have a long arc in the series–without any spoilers I can say their friendship stays strong, despite some challenges. And you know, there are those who believe that friendship is the best foundation for romance. We’ll see.

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