The Mourner's Cradle: A Widow's Journey
by Tommy B. Smith
The tale of a widow's harrowing journey through grief and peril into the cold remnants of a dead world.
Damon Sharpe had in part found victory, he believed, in his battle to unearth a truth obscured by time. By autumn, he was dead, leaving to his wife Anne a house of unfulfilled wishes, remnants, and the key to the enigma of his obsession, the Mourner’s Cradle.
A journey through grief and peril delivers Anne Sharpe from her home in St. Charles to the faraway skeletons of a long-dead civilization where she will find the desperate answers she seeks...or die trying.
Tommy B. Smith is a writer of dark fiction, author of The Mourner's Cradle, Poisonous, and the short story collection Pieces of Chaos, as well as works appearing in numerous magazines and anthologies throughout the years. His presence currently infests Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he resides with his wife and cats.
What did you edit out of this book?
My new book, The Mourner’s Cradle, ends on a certain note which might have gone otherwise.
To elaborate, the book originally had an additional chapter at its end. Ultimately, I found the work stronger minus this addition, and withdrawing it ended the book on a very different note.
I’ve heard it mentioned that whether a story has a happy or unhappy ending depends on where you end the story.
I’ll divulge no spoilers for those who haven’t read the book, but I will say that ending it on this note, the one you’ll see in the book, held far more of an impact to me.
That other chapter, for those who might wonder, was a chapter of aftermath. While it might have fleshed out a certain aspect of the world in The Mourner’s Cradle, by the end, I judged the story more powerful without it.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Sometimes researching for a book means looking into the past or into the imagination, whereas some projects require specific research.
The history of St. Anthony’s Fire, also known as the Holy Fire, interested me. Stories of mass poisonings, tales of people seeing dragons and demons, entire villages vanishing. These accounts inspired one of my short stories, Epitaph for Sol, which appeared in my collection Pieces of Chaos.
With a book such as The Mourner’s Cradle, research was more deliberate. I consulted outdated research materials published in the 1970s, because the book is set in 1979. The focus is on the views and developments of that time period.
Then the archaeological aspect came into effect. South American lore and relics, those we had at that time, provided only a vague outline of the ancient cultures in that region.
I spent some time in New Mexico a couple of years ago, and now my research has wandered into that territory, and I’ve begun writing a story based in the region.
Being a writer is a considerable part of life, on my end, and life and research have a tendency to overlap.
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