Today is a red-letter day for Ashes to Asheville, the serial novel I’m writing in real time that’s being published exclusively on the website of The Asheville Citizen-Times, the major daily newspaper here in Asheville, NC.*
Each Wednesday night I finish writing a new chapter of Ashes; each Thursday, the day after it’s done, that chapter is then published by the Citizen-Times. That’s … how it works!
The reason that today’s chapter of Ashes, the story’s seventh overall, is important, is because it brings the novel, for the first time, into real time.
In Chapter 7, Tammy, the protagonist of Ashes, does the Asheville Walk a Mile, an annual fundraiser for Our Voice, Asheville’s non-profit organization dedicated to providing services and support to victims of domestic violence.
The Our Voice Walk a Mile took place, in real life, on Saturday, May 7th—five days ago. I attended the event, and then used that experience to inform my telling of Tammy’s experience at the event, which is the basis for Chapter 7. (And yes, for the one-mile walk through downtown Asheville, I wore a pair of bright red stiletto pumps. I didn’t wear them for long, mind you. I tried. And then I cried. And then I sighed, put on my regular shoes, and carried the torture instruments in my hand for the rest of the walk.)
See the Citizen-Times‘ photo essay of the Our Voice Walk a Mile here. (Take special note of the first of the CT’s 62 pictures—the one of the balloon arch. That arch figures prominently in the new chapter of Ashes.)
The picture below, showing some of the Walk a Mile crowd (and which I borrowed from the Walk a Mile Facebook page), was taken from the same pavilion stage which figures in the opening sentence of Chapter 7.
The photograph that you’ll see illustrates Chapter 7 was taken by my wife, Cat (as were the photos for all of the novel’s chapters thus far, save for last week’s image, which was done by graphic designer Keith Krebbs). Here are a few other pics Cat snapped at Walk a Mile:
The Our Voice Walk a Mile was an extremely moving event, for me, for Cat, and I daresay for most everyone who took part in it.
It certainly proved to be so for Tammy.
I hope you like Chapter 7 of Ashes to Asheville, which, as far as I know, is the only serial novel being published by a newspaper anywhere in the country.
You can help support this revival of the great American serial novel simply by liking its Facebook page.
If you’d like to receive a notification in your inbox each Thursday morning of the newest chapter of Ashes having been published (along, of course, with a link to it), all you have to do is subscribe to this, my new blog, via RSS feed or email. You will then get word of a new chapter being up, because each Thursday I’m also now publishing here a blog post, in which I provide some background/behind-the-scenes information about each chapter. (The first such post, for Chapter 6, is here.)
*Unlimited access to the Asheville Citizen-Times website costs $10 a month. But you can read, for free, up to 10 articles on the site per month. And since I only post on the site one new chapter of Ashes per week, that should do ya for that.