Book: Castles in the Sand by Annie Dayloncategories: Book, Suspense, Romance, Family Life, Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Annie Daylonabout this book: CASTLES IN THE SAND is based on a piece I wrote for a twenty-four hour short story contest. The word count limit was 2500, the lead character had to be named Vladimir, and the theme of the contest was the word "castle." I ran through familiar phrases involving the theme word and locked on "A man's home is his castle." Instantly, I knew that my lead character would be homeless. I started the short story as follows:
"Vladimir wasn't his real name, but he had known a Vladimir once. Liked the man. Liked the name. Liked the meaning: "renowned prince." So, when his world fell apart, he changed his name to Vladimir. Just that. No last name. And he shredded every piece of identification he had ever carried with him."
When I wrote the novel, I used the name Vladimir slightly differently.
"I jump from sleep, sweating, heart racing. Light glares overhead. Used to that. Always sleep under streetlights. Always wake up cold and stiff, rigor-mortis stiff. No comfort on sidewalks. But I'm warm now. Molded to a cloud. I inhale and my nose twitches. Antiseptic. Memory is triggered and my heart rate slows.
"Mister? Are you awake? Mister?" A female voice.
I turn my head. Scrutinize her with my one good eye. Young nurse. Dark hair. Tattoo on her neck. An angel tattoo. Huh. Appropriate.
"What is your name, Mister? Can you tell me your name?" She straps a blood pressure cuff on me. Stares long and hard at my arm. Looking for track marks, no doubt. She can look all she wants. None there. "Can you tell me your name, Mister?"
Fat chance. Did I say that out loud? Guess not. She's still staring at me.
"Vladimir," I mutter. I knew a Vladimir once. Liked the man. Liked the name. Means 'renowned prince,' he told me. I used to be a prince."
I played the "what if" game a lot before I came up with the completed novel. The story is in the third person, the novel is in the first and each has a different outcome. The story deals only with "Vladimir"—aka Justin Wentworth and his family; the novel brings in a Good Samaritan whom Justin met on a downtown street in Vancouver. From the point of that meeting on, the whole novel is about trust. Can Justin trust his Good Samaritan? Will his Good Samaritan help Justin to regain the love and trust of his family?
I enjoyed creating the short story. I loved expanding it into a novel. I was torn between two endings but the comments from readers lead me to believe that I chose correctly.
• "From the first sentence, the first paragraph, the first page. . . I was hooked."
• "Such a gut-wrenching and heart-rending story."
• "Loved this book! If you've ever had a soul-searching experience yourself you will have no trouble at all slipping right into this story… completely believable and understandable."
preview: read a sample from this book
what to read next: if you read and liked this book...
Other books by Annie Daylon
• Book Review: At the Heart of the Missing by Annie Daylon|
• Book Review: Farewell - A Story of Life on The Streets by A. Pseudonym|
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