Some years ago I started working on a memoir. I was in a writing group with two other women at the time, and the plan was that we would each get something done on our respective projects and take turns reading a portion of our new work at our weekly meetings. My memoir was slow in coming, however, because I had to bat my memories around for a while before I could get them to settle down on paper. Consequently, there were some meetings where I didn’t have anything new to contribute.
To get around this problem, I decided to start working on a novel as well, something light and fun so that I could save my heavy thinking for the memoir. There were restrictions with the memoir, the most stringent of which, of course, was that it had to be true. To counterbalance the effort of digging up the truth, I allowed myself total creative freedom with the novel. I didn’t make an outline. At the end of one chapter, I decided the direction the next would take and went from there. It was great fun for a straightforward writer like me to break out of the mold and dance on the tables, so to speak. It felt like I was writing fluff, good fluff, but fluff nonetheless. But when I was done I realized that some very important themes—honesty, betrayal, isolation, forgiveness, homelessness, self-reliance—had worked their way into the text.
Joan Schweighardt is a former indie publisher who now works as a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and editor. The Accidental Art Thief is her fifth novel.
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About the Book
Title: The Accidental Art Thief
Genre: General fiction
Author: Joan Schweighardt
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
For a quarter of a century forty-five-year-old Zinc has worked as a caretaker for a wealthy old man, living in a small casita on his ranch in New Mexico. She doesn’t make much money, but she has the old man, her dogs, and gorgeous views of the mountains. She is basically a very content recluse who doesn’t invest much time thinking about what she might do if her circumstances change. So when the old man dies suddenly, and his daughter all but throws her off the property, Zinc is forced to reinvent herself—and quickly.
With a touch of magical realism and a collection of offbeat characters, The Accidental Art Thief explores the thin line between life and death and the universal forces that connect all things.