I’ve always envied authors who have no trouble answering that question–it’s a romance, a mystery, a thriller, a western … HAWKINS LANE is all of those and none of them. It doesn’t fit the conventions of any of those genre. It’s fiction. General, contemporary, realistic, mainstream fiction. Not very helpful, so let me give you a taste, and you can name the flavor.
HAWKING LANE is a story of love gone wrong. So it has romance. It is set in the Cascades of Washington State, so it is regional. It also has a possible murder and a hair raising search for a lost child, so it is both mystery and thriller. All of those are true, but at its core, it is about the effect of the past on our relationships. Still, none of those descriptions captivates–only opening a book can do that.
Their father rose. The tall, narrow man who should have been in a checked wool shirt and boots looked naked in blue prison garb. His neck too long. …
“We find the defendant, Amos Hawkins, guilty of murder in the first degree.”
Ned reached for Billy as he lunged, and together he and his mother held him fast as a murmur of satisfaction rose from the surrounding crowd.
“Time we saw the end of the likes of you!” a man behind them yelled.
Ned Hawkins … stepped into McKenzie Crossing’s main street. A pair of teenage girls jumped away and made a wide circle around him. … He headed for the old logging trails above town, his daily escape the chronic mid-week feeling of being trapped in his life. … He’d just cut off the trail toward the creek when he heard the whistle of a fishing line cutting the air. He stopped, then approached the water ahead carefully, expecting to find his brother, who he didn’t particularly want to see.
“The Hawkins live down there.” [Ned] pointed to the lowland roofs. “…. My father worked in the mill, when he was sober.” He stopped, then decided to let her think the man was dead. She’d find out differently soon enough, but it would give him a few more moments to fill his chest with air.
That’s a taste of the opening love story, but there are more elements in the story. For me, and for many of my readers, place is a central character. To see more about the importance of place, see my earlier blog, “HAWKINS LANE and the Importance of Place.”