“I was meant for something, surely. No creature is placed on this earth for nothing. Who am I, where do I belong? I know I have a soul because it’s crying out to me now. It’s reaching for something, someone, I don't know what, but I must find something to hold, to love, to give to, and be nourished by. My heart is filled with nameless longings. I long for… I long for…”
I scripted those thoughts for my desperate seventeen-year-old protagonist Elisa Roundtree in Not From the Stars, the first of my 4-book series, His Majesty's Theatre. Elisa was betrothed at birth to Sir John Garingham, a corrupt industrialist who is also a serial rapist. It is now 1903. He has always supported her impoverished family. She owes him. Soon turning eighteen, she has no dowry and no chance of finding a different husband. Although Sir John terrifies her, she can imagine no alternative to becoming his wife. Still, she longs for something different, something better, something more.
Finishing her last year at boarding school, with the tuition paid by Sir John, Elisa falls in love with her handsome young art-master. Longing to paint for a living and hating being caged into a low paying teaching job, he casually muses,
“…Life itself is a mystery, my dear… I only know that every morning is a wonder, sometimes of delight, sometimes of horror. We search every day, craving approval, longing for peace, crying for affection, and usually settling for far less than our ideal.”
Equally important to the story are scruffy actors Jeremy O'Connell and Katherine Stewart. Originally longing for fame and fortune, by 1903 they have it. Now London theatre stars, with their professional longings satiated, new longings surface. Jeremy is gay and loves his freewheeling lifestyle. He also loves playing husband to Katherine and father to her young son, the product of her long-time affair with their married theatre owner. Jeremy longs to keep his "family", and his lifestyle. He cannot have both. When Katherine's childhood love Simon Camden appears at a society Christmas party, Jeremy is horrified.
His patent-leather slippers gleamed and his nails were buffed. For a split-second, Jeremy hoped Simon had fallen in love with some other woman. When he spun Katherine around, then kissed her passionately, that hope dissolved.
Katherine laughed with pleasure. “We thought you were in New York.” She lovingly stroked his cheek, “I was so worried when your letters stopped coming.”
“It’s a long story. I’ve missed you.”
“Oh, certainly.” She laughed as he held her tight, kissing her again.
Longing to yank them apart, Jeremy clenched his fists and waited for the interminable kiss to end.
Later that evening, Simon finds Jeremy alone.
He posed melodramatically, raising the back of his hand to his forehead. “Kathy turned me down, once again.”
Jeremy snorted, fluttering a hand. “If she ever said, ‘Yes,’ all your longing would disappear and your talent with it.”
Simon pretended he had been socked in the stomach. “Ooh, that’s a good one, Jerry. Points for you.” His head came up under Jeremy’s chin.
In a flash, Simon had Jeremy’s arm pinned behind his back. Jeremy laughed, shouting, “Uncle!”
For twenty years, I longed for a publisher to publish this story. I channeled the first 600-page draft in four months while working full-time, running a senior citizen center. Four months later, four agents wanted to represent the book. I was thrilled, BUT, my longings continued as publisher rejections poured in. Years went by and I expanded the story. 1200 pages and several screenplay adaptations later, (pulling single plot lines from the multi-storied work), 800 pages were pulled, edited into 4 short novels and published by Endeavour Media, UK. I'm thrilled, BUT, my longings continue. Now, I watch my TV/Film agent try to sell the story to production companies. If a film or miniseries is made I'll be ecstatic. BUT, will my longing end? Probably not.