“A Thing of Dark Imaginings” was my first novel. It began as an anti-gun rant and later developed into something else, something more literary and more interesting, in my view.
Like many people, I have become dismayed and even cynical about our inability to reduce the homicide rate and the rate of gun deaths in the U.S. I simply cannot understand why we have chosen to tolerate the random murder of the young. Shortly after the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, I saw a newspaper article in which photographs of the 32 victims (excluding the shooter) were posted. One of the victims was a young woman, a college freshman; the article showed what seemed to be her high school senior year portrait.
In the photo, joy lept from her face. She seemed happy and engaging and fun-loving. She seemed only recently to have begun realizing and enjoying the delights of adulthood and independence. I have two daughters, now in college. At the time, I thought, Good God, I cannot imagine what her parents are going through right now. If it were me, and if I lost a child who looked like that woman – who was as incandescent as that young woman – I would go insane.
That thought led me to my first novel.