Hidden Secrets in The Talking Drum

I’ve hidden a few secrets in The Talking Drum that close family members and friends will probably be able to identify. The character, Percy, a Vietnam veteran, owns a German shepherd named Bridgette. Percy is never seen without his dog and the two are regulars in the community. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, growing up we had a German shepherd in my household named Bridget. She was very protective of the entire family and my sister and I enjoyed years of her affection and willingness to play fetch and dance with us.

Also in the book is an upscale art gallery named Deborah’s. Deborah happens to be my best buddy from my college days. I’ve already told Deborah she’s in the book and I’d love to see her face when she gets to the page with the reference to her namesake. It is mentioned in the book that my main character Sydney has visited her cousin Jocelyn during the summers when she was growing up. The real-life Jocelyn is college buddy Deborah’s oldest daughter.

There is a mischievous cat in The Talking Drum by the name of Pumpkin. When I was writing scenes involving the cat, I asked my niece, Raven, to suggest a name. She gave me a list of possibilities, including Pumpkin, which I chose, because I felt it corresponded with Pumpkin’s orange, swirly coat. Pumpkin is owned by a husband and wife. She has bonded well with the husband, but simply tolerates the wife and sometimes scratches her.

In my own life, my husband and I adopted a cat that I named Savannah. That feline was something else! She adored my husband, but tolerated me. When my husband would take naps on the couch, Savannah would perch on the back of the couch like a sentinel guarding a dignitary (I actually used that line in the book). She was quite jealous. If my husband went to hug me, Savannah would bite him on the arm to make him stop. She once stomped on our feet when we hugged standing up. Savannah dug her teeth into the both of us without provocation and drew blood a bunch of times. There’s more to the saga of Savannah, but I’ll save that for another time. It was cathartic expunging the terrorism we experienced with Savannah by writing about her as the cat Pumpkin.

Now you know my “secrets.” When you read my book, you may come across a few more.

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Lisa Braxton

Lisa Braxton is an Emmy-nominated former television journalist, an essayist, short story writer, and novelist. Her debut novel, The Talking Drum, is forthcoming from Inanna Publications in spring 2020. She is a fellow of the Kimbilio Fiction Writers Program and a book reviewer for 2040 Review. Her stories and essays have appeared in literary magazines and journals. She received Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest magazine’s 84th and 86th annual writing contests in the inspirational essay category. Her website: www.lisabraxton.com

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