Vera Jane Cook
I live in the past they tell me which translates to ‘I live in my youth’. I suppose there are some books I write, books in which I take from the nearly present. I write about what I remember, and what lies deep within my DNA. I write southern fiction, though I’ve never lived there, but my grandfather goes back generations in the deep south. I write a lot about upstate New York because I have memories of front porches, lively flowing streams and endless winding roads to walk.
In my women’s fiction I tell the tales that came to me while staring at a garden or listening to the wind that rattled my windowpane and fell on my skin the way the music of yesterday falls on my heart. I write because I want to remember, because I love words first discovered in Victorian Poetry and novels like The Portrait of Dorian Grey and Wuthering Heights. I write because of this love affair I have with the written word and my desire to recall the haunting tales of imagination. My fiction is my way of connecting, of remaining, of expressing what lies in the corners of my mind and in the creases of my soul.
Olivia Hardy Ray
Meet my alter ego, Olivia Hardy Ray. She’s a bit off, as any alter ego should be. She helps me to see things in the dark that aren’t there. She insists I’m not crazy when I talk to ghosts, when I walk in time and when I actually do away with Jack the Ripper. Olivia applauds my pious puritan soul and yet takes so much pleasure in the devil’s demise.
She’s a naughty girl, always insisting I go out on a limb and tell people how I swung by my neck in Salem yet lived to walk in centuries of my choosing. She whispers in my ear constantly about beings from space, about aliens from the future, but I always listen, for she talks to me of spirits and God and how the devil can be beaten and time is an endless moment of ‘now’. She preaches, sometimes, but gives me handsome heroes and despicable demons, androgynous women to taint my life and priests to save my soul from the pits of hell. Thank you Olivia, thank you for being so daring and so bold and so completely oblivious to the natural world.