The Catalyst for Writing the Novel

What do you see when you look at this image?

In the Author’s Note of the novel, I wrote the following about the image, which is the book cover of What’s in a Name:

The cover art, which wraps to the back of the book, is an image I took in Jamaica before I wrote the novel. Indeed, this factual event could have been “the effect of breeze having manipulated leaves into form; leaves having manipulated light with equal savvy.” However, What’s in a Name is, as Khaled Hosseini once said about fiction, “the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.”

I took it on June 8, 2015 at 11:33 p.m.

I’ll now return to my question: what do you see when you look at the image?

The image struck me as being unworldly, inspiring me with otherworldly desires. There also seemed to be a numinous backstory to its appearance on a concrete wall structure that was shaded by the limbs of a banana tree. I connoted a meaningful future for myself, or at least an imminent transcendental experience. However, I did not relegate what I felt to a purely “religious sign” as a number of people to whom I’d initially shown it have since done. Instead, conferring some significance to my reality at that time, the image resolved itself into my own suprarational thoughts and ideas that I could pursue through only the pure education of writing.

I was not yet a writer, but I did have a story to tell, so I went about the business of doing so. Indeed, it all seemed like an impossible dream, but that achievement was critical, I would discover.

Chapter Four of the novel is where I truly tapped into the gift of this image, exploiting it for the remarkable treasure it offered me to create a most difficult character and also tell his untenable truth. Despite my reluctance to give him a point of view, I had to accept that I was merely the storyteller.

And that was an immutable fact.


Electronic Press Kit for Garie McIntosh’s Novel “What’s in a Name” Copyright © 2022 by Garie McIntosh. All Rights Reserved.

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