A Word from E.M. Lindsey
One of the most common questions I’m asked when people find out I’m a writer is, “Where do you get your ideas from?” It’s funny because I think a lot of people believe there’s one single place authors draw from to create the new worlds we walk into when we start a new book. But the truth is, everything around us is inspiration. Everything we do during the day is stored away to be used later in our own fictional worlds.
However, and there is a however, Time and Tide came to me in a very special way.
Once upon a time I was a University student taking a creative writing class. I was looking to fill a time slot and credit requirement, and one of the classes that was offered was Fiction Writing. I looked into it, and was impressed by the course outline. The first two weeks were dedicated to studying formulaic fiction. The third week would be choosing our formulas, and then we’d be given prompts by our professor. They would draw from those specific categories, basic character identities, a time period, and a general plot outline.
From that, our job was to take the formula and those bare-bones requirements, and turn it into something worth reading. We were to have at least fifty-thousand words completed by the end of term. So I sat through my class, I learned the formulaic basics of genre fiction writing, and then I got my prompts.
Dear Professor, I wrote. I’m going with historical general fiction.
Two days later, it was a weekend, and I was sitting at home waiting. I got my reply, and for the first time since I’d started college, I was shocked. And believe me, I’d had some interesting professors in my day, but never in my life had I ever experienced the gall of this man.
Ms. Lindsey, he wrote. Here are your characters, time period, and general plot outline. You need to have one male protagonist, one female antagonist, one male side-character, and one female side-character. Your male protagonist will be a lawyer, and the setting will be Boston at the turn of the twentieth century. There must be one character death, and with general fiction, you should be focusing on character development rather than plot.
Allow me to add a side-note, Ms. Lindsey. As I’ve seen this before, I should caution you against the temptation to make your male characters a bunch of homos**. Happy writing.
I’m paraphrasing this, as it was written back in 2006 and I don’t have a copy of the email. But unfortunately my surprise allowed for the memory to be burned into my brain. I sat in shock, especially since they used a much cruder phrase than, ‘a bunch of homos**.’
I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought, can this professor be serious? Can this professor really make that demand? Can they actually use words like that? Was it legal?
I turned the email in for discrimination and I was ignored. It was crass, but not an offense worth investigating, and would I please just complete the assignment as requested.
Of course I’d have my revenge, I thought. This professor doesn’t want gay characters, but that wasn’t against the rules, was it? Nowhere did it limit my character’s sexuality. It was a personal preference, and one I intended to ignore. Completely.
And thus was born the story of William and Theodore.
My original story had William’s wife dying to fulfill my character death requirement, and there was never a child born to anyone. The story was more of a love born out of a tragedy. In the original, William dealt with reconciling his feelings for Teddy and taking them out on the poor writer before realizing his conflict was rooted in love.
I turned the story in, and I was failed out of the class. I filed an appeal which was denied, but I had my own triumph. I didn’t reveal the character’s true intentions until the very end, meaning the professor had to read the entire book all the way through before realizing what they’d been subjected to. And I wasn’t sorry about it.
Years passed and I went about my life. I eventually graduated, even with my sole F marring my otherwise shining academic record. Then about six months ago, I came across a conversation on my old computer talking about it. I thought, maybe one final stab in the back of that angry, awful professor would be to publish that book. So every dime I made would be a slap in the face. Every positive review from people who loved the story of William and Teddy would be a reminder that the professor was wrong, and their viewpoint was cruel and dated. That a true love story could be told without regard to gender and sexuality, and there could and would be beauty in it.
It’s funny to think back on it now, to know this book which has brought happiness to many readers, was once the book that failed me out of my college class. I look at it now, the words, the cover, the wonderful reviews and I think, “I hope you found something to make you happy, professor. I hope you met the Teddy to your William, because no matter how angry you are, we all deserve it.”
Time and Tide
Published ~ 21st July 2015
Genre ~ Historical M/M Romance
"Sometimes the universe is chaos, and sometimes it’s kind. If we are meant to be together, we shall be.”
It's 1897, and fresh from Oxford University, William Owens returns to Maryland to find his mother has planned his entire future. His law practice, his home, and his wife. Unable to stand up to her, William resigns himself to living the life she's created.
Then one day the blind writer, Theodore Renard, stumbles into his life and changes everything. William must find the courage within himself to stand up to his mother and take his destiny into his own hands. But none of that comes without a price. Facing heartache and tragedy, William must learn to navigate through the chaos of time and the tide.
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Meet E.M. Lindsey
E.M. Lindsey grew up loving literature and history, both reflected in her work. Growing up between Europe and the US, she’s been given a unique perspective on life which she uses to craft her worlds of fiction. She currently resides in the south western United states with her loving family.
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