Thursday, November 14, 2013

When Stories Link Up by Berengaria Brown

I want to thank Berengaria Brown for popping in for a visit and sharing her wonderful dream with us.

One night I had a dream. I got out of bed, and wrote it down, but I had no idea what it meant, or where it was going. I showed it to author Anny Cook, and asked, “What do I do now?” She told me to keep writing. She said that sort of thing happened to her a lot. Either it turned into a book, or it would just stop. Well, I took her advice, kept writing, and it turned into three books. And finally, with the third book, I realized what the connection was. It is actually what happens more than fifty years after the “Raw Claiming” series I wrote.
“Forbidden Future” was the first book, which begins with my dream. As I kept writing, three characters took over, demanding their story be told.
More than fifty years ago, wicked winds, carrying deadly diseases, swept across the land, and their ancestors fled to a protected valley. But now the easy-to-gather food and fuel are used up, and the people struggle to feed themselves. The goods their ancestors had brought with them are worn out, and life is hard trying to feed and provide for themselves.
Zuri, Udo, and Tau love each other, but have to meet in the forest to make love. The people decide to go to the city to look for food and fuel. It’s Zuri who finds the ancestors’ truck and asks for a gift in return—that she, Tau, and Udo could be together.
When they get to the city they meet up with three other people, and book 2, “Future Revealed”, is the story of Ruby, Pagan, and Koby. They’re alone and lonely, but have worked very hard to survive and don’t want to give that up and move to Zuri’s village where hunger is such a threat.
And as I wrote book 3, Adena, Arthur and Ghedi’s story, everything just clicked into place. This book is called “Raw Future”, because it links back to the “Raw Claiming” series I wrote. In the “Raw Claiming” series the world has changed dramatically and the people are hiding from radioactive fallout. Only now did I understand why Zuri’s ancestors had fled from the cities to a protected valley.
And for anyone who has read the “Raw Claiming” books, “Raw Craving”, “Raw Need” and “Raw Want”, they will see some characters return fifty and more years later.
EXCERPT: This is the opening scene of “Forbidden Future”, that I dreamed.
He limped slowly up the long hill, leaning heavily on his cane. From time to time he stopped, breathing heavily, but he always began walking again, a little slower perhaps, the cane digging deeper into the grass as he leaned harder on it, but he persisted all the way until he finally reached the top.
When he arrived there, he rested both hands on the walking stick then lowered himself to the grass, dropping the last nine or ten inches onto his ass with a slight thump and an expletive.
Dammit, I don’t know why I come here. It always makes my knees ache and I always have to rest. Yeah and getting up is always a bitch. Gonna be a helluva bitch again today.
He smiled. He knew why he came. It was the only connection left to his childhood. A world long gone that almost no one else could remember. He was only fifty-eight years old. Not so old perhaps, but these days few people lived past forty. Life was just too damn hard. He had a dim memory of attending an eightieth birthday party. For his grandmother? Or likely his great-grandmother. Who knew anymore? But what he did know, what he still saw clearly in his mind, was the crowd of really old people, people in their eighties, nineties even, who’d been at that party.
Ah yes, it was more than fifty years ago though. Before everything had changed. Before…
He looked around him, taking in the panoramic view he’d expended so much pain and energy to see. Every time he came here, he was aware it might be the last time. The last time he could look into the distance and see the high buildings of what had once been a city. It was crumbled now, ruined, with wild grasses growing up in the cracked buildings. With houses and apartment blocks fallen down over what had once been freeways.
The people he lived with—or more accurately, the parents and grandparents of the people he lived with—had escaped from that big city and made their home here, next to a fresh-flowing river, in a lush valley where crops grew well. Where they were protected from the wicked winds that raced across the land, destroying houses and pushing down trees. Winds that for the first ten years had carried diseases that killed anyone exposed to them for too long. Winds that even now sent everyone scurrying indoors to shelter until they blew themselves out, even though no one had died from wind-borne diseases for many years now.
No one knew exactly what had happened. He was much too young then to understand more than the desperate scramble to leave the city and travel as far and as fast as they could. Until they came to the valley and there they stopped and hid and sheltered and stayed, building a new home.
But he remembered the city and yearned for its conveniences. For lights that went on when he flicked a switch. For foods that stayed cold on hot days, and for the ability to heat and cook food in moments, instead of it taking hours. The young children thought his stories about his childhood were just stories since almost no one alive had lived in the city. But although he’d only been a child then, his mind was not deranged. His memories were clear. However, he’d learned not to speak of them anymore. So here he came to look, to remember, to wonder what the children growing up in the valley would have for their future. So much hard work to produce food and fuel, and so little time to appreciate anything of beauty. No time for joy or learning. What would their lives hold?


  1. Thank you, Rachel, for hosting me today, and thank you, Anny, for your awesome advice.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Anny. Can't wait to read your stories. Wishing you the best.