Martha Alderson's Writing

I have two passions:

  • 1) Assisting writers in their pursuit of finishing a novel, screenplay, and memoir and/or successfully publishing
  • 2) Writing fiction

Of my own writing, I currently have completed four works of fiction:

Spirits at War, a historical novel set at the turn of the 19th century
Parallel Lives, a love story
Sailing with Commodore Stockton, a middle grade action adventure story for boys set in the year California became a territory of the United States
Angle of Refection, a spiritual journey into the oldest-growth redwood grove in the world


Inspiration for Sailing with Commodore Stockton

The inspiration for writing this action adventure tale for boys set in the year California becomes a territory of the US, can be found:

Commodore Robert Field Stockton

read an excerpt


Inspiration for Angle of Reflection

By analyzing plots of contemporary and classic books and films, I have been most struck how plot and the structure of the hero's journey mirrors the writer's journey as well. Using Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist as my model, I wrote this story of one's woman's quest to find meaning in the face of death. Sunny, the protagonist, is dying the same way her mother and her grandmother before her died -- of skin cancer. I was curious to explore the forgiveness needed when a death sentence is passed from generation to generation.


Inspiration for Spirits at War

Throughout the writing of Spirits at War, Mara, a minor, fictionalized character that showed up in the first paragraph of the first draft, kept bullying her way into the story. In the end, what began as a fictionalized biography of Robert Field Stockton (the man who founded Liberia for the freed slaves of America, invented the first screw propelled naval battleship, and conquered California with Fremont and Kearny), turned into a story of a wood carver's quest for freedom.

I fought against Mara for years. As a slave on the Stockton estate in Princeton, New Jersey-the last northern state to pass a law freeing slaves, Mara is black. The angst I suffered over my right as a white woman to write this story from a black point of view cannot be underplayed. Words I heard uttered first from Maya Angelou, smoothed the way for me. "We are, each of us, more alike than we are different."

read an excerpt


Inspiration for Parallel Lives

I have always been fascinated to learn how someone I know was in the exact same place at exactly the same time I was years before we ever actually met. Using that as a theme, I am working on Parallel Lives, a novel of class and the politics of the 1960s that tracks the lives of Billy Wayman Wolden and Tille Hawthorne.

Billy's storyline explores the legacy left him through his Potowatomi Indian ancestry. Tille, in her struggle to become her own person, must first, as in Nietzsche's parable on maturity, slay the dragon of "Thou Shalt".

When these two characters finally meet, though their lives have run on parallel tracks, it is the odd moments when they intersect that create in both of Billy and Tille the haunting feeling that they have met somewhere before. At the story's end, the reader is left to decide if the random intersections in all our lives are fate, or nothing more than just chance encounters.