Catherine M. Wilson lives in a redwood forest in California, which is probably where she finds lines like these:

“People stay away from the forest this time of year.”

An icy finger touched the back of my neck. “Why?”

“Old memories grow strong here in wintertime.”

As soon as she put it into words, I recognized my own feeling about the forest. This place that had at first felt so unfamiliar, now seemed more like a forgotten memory of childhood. Fragments of old stories hung in the branches overhead and told themselves in the sound of rustling leaves. Echoes of ancient songs murmured in the music of falling water. Childhood fears haunted my dreams.

An avid reader from earliest childhood, Catherine searched in vain for the book she wished she could have read as a young woman. The first line of that book would have been:
“Once upon a time, a young woman set out to seek her fortune.”

Having passed her half-century mark without finding the book she wanted, she decided that she would have to write it herself. But her first line is a bit more chilling:
“All the women of my family had gone to war.”

Catherine’s mother did in fact go to war in 1942, so there is more than a ring of truth to the line, as there is more than a ring of truth to the story, its setting and its characters. All are rooted deeply in the author’s experience and in her lifelong study of myth, legend, folklore, and fairy tales.

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