The idea for Hidden Shadows began when I discovered an isolated, rugged section of the Texas Hill Country called Willow City. I loved the craggy, impossible hills, the deep canyons, the low-lying meadows. It felt as though I had been tossed back in time. Not a house was in sight, not a single barn. Homes were hidden at the end of trails slashed through the woods or climbing up the hillsides. The only breathing creatures I saw were the four-legged kind penned in pastures, several deer dashing across the road, and an armadillo.
A character had come to my mind earlier, wanting to be heard. Perhaps here is where Cassie needs to be, I thought – somewhere peaceful and isolated, to heal the troubles in her heart. But what troubles? It came to me then, what she was trying to tell me: she was drowning in grief, and needed to be restored.
I’ve met remarkable women who suffered incalculable loss, and yet somehow survived, and lived each day with joy. I marveled at them, at their courage, their spirit. And I asked myself, “How?” What did they endure in private, what interior battles did they wage? What dwelled in their spirit that made them victorious over such sorrow? And I’ve met those who did not endure, those who forever walked in the shadows of grief. And I asked myself, “Why?” Why do some souls shatter under the weight of it, while others survive? Because I’ve experienced grief myself – who hasn’t as the years collect? It’s part and parcel of life – the need to write about it must have been there, lurking inside me, silent.
So Cassie would move here among the hills and face her inner demons. But in what kind of house? I’ve always been fascinated with old country houses – the sort that are scattered thought the small towns of Texas, sporting wrap-around porches and a weathered “come on in look.” I thought it would be something akin to this – until I visited the old stone German homestead displayed at the Pioneer Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas. And I knew Cassie had to have both, conjoined like twins.
These elements were, in a small way, inspiration for Hidden Shadows. But there’s more, much of it unknown to me – the secret part of ourselves that reveals itself as we write.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda Lucretia Shuler wrote her first story when she was six, Koko the Monkey, which she still has tucked into a drawer. Since then her stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and literary journals, and a handful of her plays have been produced in schools and community theatres.
Linda received a BFA in theatre from the University of Texas, and an MA in theatre from Trinity University while in residence at the Dallas Theatre Center. She taught theatre arts in college and high school for three decades, loving every moment and directing nearly a hundred plays in the process. She also wrote theatre arts curriculum K-12 for Houston ISD, conducted numerous workshops, and performed in community theatres.
Hidden Shadows, Linda’s debut novel, takes place in Willow City, a ruggedly beautiful section of the Texas Hill Country less than three hours from her home in San Antonio. Several other manuscripts are in the works, reaching across the genres. These include a prequel to Hidden Shadows, plays, and a collection of poems and a half-dozen different story ideas demanding attention.
Linda enjoys participating in Toastmasters, writer organizations, critique groups, and book clubs. She continues her love of theatre, delights in watching the birds flocking outside her office window, and is an enthusiastic fan of San Antonio’s championship basketball team, the Spurs.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Hidden Shadows
Author: Linda Lucretia Shuler
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Hidden Shadows is a story of connection: to the land, to our ancestors, to others, to ourselves – and to the redemptive power of love:
Cassie Brighton, devastated by the accidental death of her husband, flees to a remote homestead deep in the rugged Texas Hill Country. Alone in a ramshackle farmhouse steeped in family secrets, Cassie wages a battle of mind and heart as she struggles to overcome the sorrows of her past, begin anew, and confront the possibility of finding love again.
What people are saying:
“Hidden Shadows is a wonderful novel of a women’s journey of self-discovery and search for purpose. The characters will win your heart (and sometimes break it) in this beautifully written and satisfying story of loss and renewal.”
Award-winning author of The King’s Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen