In celebration of National Library Week, the Stanislaus County Library has introduced chapter one of the area’s first community novel, “Ashes in a Teardrop.”
“Ashes in a Teardrop” is a mystery novel which will be written by 15 different Stanislaus County authors, including two from Turlock – R. Garret Wilson and Clyde V. Collard. Each of the 15 authors is given one chapter of the book to write, and picks up where the previous author left off.
The mystery novel begins with a young couple hiking along the Tuolumne River. Due to the current drought conditions the young couple stumbles upon a 1960s-era teardrop trailer that had been submerged years earlier in a flood.
From there, the 15 authors will work collaboratively to craft an intriguing novel available free to the public.
Stanislaus County Library spokesperson Susan Lilly explained the idea was based off the familiar ghost story model, where people sit around a campfire and each one contributes to the story by picking it up where the previous person left off.
“The authors have met several times and they have just gelled and have already planned out the first four chapters. They keep coming up with more ideas, more brainstorming. It will be exciting for the community to see what local authors come up with,” she said.
Wilson, was selected to write the fourth chapter.
“This has been an incredibly enjoyable experience. The meetings with the other authors have been really fun and so far the novel is coming together smoothly and each chapter is consistent with the previous chapter,” said Wilson.
Collard, who has published four books and is a retired Department Chair of Sociology at California State University, Stanislaus, was handed the enormous responsibility of the final chapter in the mystery novel.
Collard says that so far the authors have completed eight chapters of the novel and currently it is “progressing smoothly.”
At this point, Collard is approaching his duty to wrap up the novel with a blank slate.
“I would expect it to start getting crazy pretty soon and by chapter 11, 12, 13, I should start seeing where I want to go with my chapter,” he said. “This is a great project. I support anything community-based. But it is a difficult and challenging project. You have 15 writers with egos and opinions. So far everyone has gotten along really well,” he said.
The cover art for the novel has not been selected as of yet. According to Lilly in the coming weeks the Stanislaus County Library will announce a cover art contest.
To read “Ashes in a Teardrop,” visit http://www.stanislauslibrary.org/ and click on the graphic for Stanislaus Reads and Writes.