Anne (with-an-E) Shirley yearned for a Kindred Spirit in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book Anne of Green Gables. Everybody needs a Kindred Spirit from time to time, someone with whom to share dreams, sorrow, and feelings both happy and sad, even if they use a different name.
People who live on or visit the coast of North Carolina have had one for the last 35 years or so. It’s actually a large rural mailbox set into the dunes of a nature preserve called Bird Island along the last stretch of beach before the South Carolina state line. The mailbox contains notebooks and pens and pencils, and a guardian removes notebooks as they fill up and replaces them with new ones. Those folks who wander by or deliberately walk there can write whatever is in their hearts and on their minds. I’ve been doing so most summers or falls for decades.
Bird Island is otherwise undeveloped and for years the mailbox’s origin was a well-guarded secret. It was finally revealed in a CBS news segment in June 2014, and people across the world learned about this special spot.
I had just returned from a stay in Sunset Beach in October 2013 when I began my journey to become a YA novelist. I decided to set my first novel there, knowing that the Kindred Spirit Mailbox would play a central role in both this novel and in the series I hoped to write. That’s where the name Kindred Spirit Author came from. At the time I thought I was writing a mystery. It took a while to discover the novel was actually a ghost story.
If all goes as planned, this draft of Drowned will be finished this spring. I’ll make one more pass through it on the word level to be sure I’ve used the best words to tell the story and get feedback from my beta readers. Then, I’ll start shopping it around to agents.
For more information about the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, look at the video below: