“The story bubbled within me until it finally exploded!” says Jacqueline T. Moore, explaining how she came to write “The Canary,” her debut novel published just this past fall by Solstice Publications.
Given that Moore’s story draws from family lore, and that she began committing a fictional version of it to paper after retiring from a career in teaching, the story had a long time to simmer, bubble and brew.
Jacqueline T. Moore, Dayton native and Englewood resident, debuted her first novel in 2014.
“The story is of a ring with a yellow diamond that was passed down through my mother’s side of my family from my great-great-great-great grandmother,” Moore said. “Supposedly, she was part of a ring of jewel thieves and smugglers. I have an elderly aunt who is in her eighties who told me not to tell the family secrets — but based on this family legend, I create Myra, the heroine of my novel.”
In “The Canary,” Myra Gallaway is a young widow with five children living in 1890’s Galveston, Texas, selling homemade sweets to support her family but soon getting caught up in a jewel smuggling ring.
“It’s a sweet novel, though,” Moore said. “Well, perhaps it does include one well-deserved murder…”
Moore, who lives in Englewood and is 66 (and “proud of it,” she says), was born and grew up in Dayton. She attended a small college in Nebraska, and then earned her master’s in education from University of Dayton. She taught in Dayton Public Schools for 33 years, and then at Sinclair Community College for seven more years before retiring.
“After living all kinds of places after college, I returned to Dayton as a single parent. I remarried, but several years ago my second husband became ill with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease,” Moore said. “I became his caretaker, and he passed away three years ago,” Jacqueline says. “During my years of teaching, rearing four children, and then being a caregiver, I didn’t have a lot of time or energy for creative writing.”
“I still recall winning the eighth grade essay contest and my teacher thinking my mother must have written the essay for me because she thought it was too well written,” Moore said. “I was the editor of my high school newspaper.”
After Moore’s husband passed and she retired, she says she needed a new place to direct her time and energy — and she turned both to the creative writing and the story she’d put on hold for all those years.
“I took about a year to write the first draft,” Moore said. “I then gave myself the gift of a review by Katrina Kittle, who offered creative writing critiques on her own and now does them as part of the Write Sisters.”
(Note from Sharon: In full disclosure, Write Sisters Consulting is comprised of Katrina Kittle, Kristina McBride, and Sharon.)
Jacqueline says she was delighted to receive creative writing coaching and advice from Katrina, a Dayton-based author known internationally for her award-winning fiction.
“I actually put the envelope from Katrina under my Christmas tree last year as a gift to myself,” Moore said.
Then Moore busied herself with revising “The Canary” in early 2014, based on Katrina’s input, feedback from beta readers, and with the assistance of colloquialism coach to help her create believable regional dialogue.
Next came the grueling search for an agent or publisher.
“I’d received 110 ‘no thank yous’ by July 2 of this year. I remember the date, because I went parasailing that day in South Carolina, where I often go to write,” Moore said. “When I came back from the parasailing adventure, I had a message from Solstice Publishing that the company wanted to publish my novel. I may have landed from parasailing that day, but really, I’ve never come down since. I’m still excited by the publishing turn of events for my novel!”
“The Canary” came out in September of this year and Moore has been busy ever since with readings and book events.
Sharon Short - Contributing Writer
Dayton Daily News
Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014