Thinking back, I discover that Duck Dreams was conceived twenty-seven years ago! My husband's uncle, Abe Segel, wrote a letter to answer questions put to him about his boyhood by two nephews, Joel and Michael Segel. We received a copy as well. And more letters followed, multiple pages written in longhand from one edge of the page to the other. After reading two or three of the letters, I wrote back to Abe, saying how I loved reading his letters and that I thought there was an appealing children's story there. Would he mind if I tried?
Well, he didn't mind, in fact he began to write letters to me, describing life in the town of Melrose in 1910 to 1912, and giving me good background detail, such as huddling around the kitchen stove to dress and the ritual of Mama's haircuts.
Twenty-seven years is a long time and I'm glad to have the chance to think about the different helpers along the way and the quick dominance of fiction over the facts of the letters.