- by Vonna Harper
Although this is my first Novelists Inc blog, I’m far from a newcomer to this writing business. If my memory serves me right, I was on the ground floor when Harlequin American launched and before that I’d self-educated myself about the art of fiction writing penning–are you ready for this–confessions. Ah yes, just call me the queen of confessing although, granted, I haven’t done so for many years. For someone who grew up daydreaming and whose favorite birthday gift was a packet of writing paper, I walked into the writing business knowing absolutely nothing about its reality. Boy, have I learned a lot.
I wish it had been different. It could have been different–which leads to the reason for the title The Blind Spot. Although circumstances dictated that I never met the man, I firmly believe that I wouldn’t have had this writing career all these years if not for my grandfather. Please let me introduce him to you. He was semi-religious, absolutely dedicated to his wife and three young children, a shoe repairman working in his brother’s shop. He was also, in my opinion, brilliant. How did I come to that conclusion? Because in addition to spending his days repairing shoes, much of his free time was devoted to writing.
Homer Eon Flindt (Flint) died at 36 in 1924 at the hands of a man who decided that the $300 Homer carried on him (he’d just sold a car and was going to buy another) was worth his life. At Homer’s death, he left behind my 9 year old uncle, 5 year old mother, 2 year old aunt, and a widow with a 50% hearing loss and no right hand. He also left behind a legacy that has shaped me, his oldest grandchild, in countless ways. Grandpa wrote for the pulp magazines of the 1920′s, most of his short stories science fiction. Yes, his work is considered primitive and ignorant given today’s knowledge of the universe, but back then he was considered cutting edge and creative. His style is dated with slow lead-ins to the action but beneath the verbage is a knowledge of math, science, and space that blows me away. He also wrote more than a dozen movie treatments, not shabby for a man with only an elementary school education.
His one book-length fiction, The Blind Spot, has been republished at least a dozen times, many of them foreign editions. (And no, the family hasn’t received any royalties) It takes readers into a parallel universe accessible through a hole in the atnosphere and forces the characters to make ethical, emotional, and practical decisions and look at their lives in new ways. In other words, it is part adventure, part psychological study
Whenever, in interviews, I’m asked what dead person I’d like to meet, I always say, “Grandpa.” I’d first ask him exactly what happened that night when everything ended. Then I’d ask if he finds anything of himself in my writing. I hope so but I’m not sure because after my stint with category romance followed by a joyful adventure with mainstream Native American historicals, I jumped onboard the erotica bandwagon for one overriding reason–the money. Will he understand why I made that decision, and will he see our common genes in what Vonna Harper comes up with? That question leads to another. Was science fiction his first love or did he embrace the genre because it bought his children clothes and shoes? Perhaps, in 1924, he understood the pulse of publishing and knew where the money was.
Grandpa, without you in my genes, I wonder what I would have become?