When I was a girl, my mom owned a book called Color Me Beautiful. Based on your hair and skin coloring, it prescribed your best wardrobe and makeup palette, and it divided the palettes by season. My mom’s black hair and fair skin made her a winter, which meant she wore jewel-toned colors. Ruby, sapphire, emerald. She was veritable walking jewelry box. I remember being fascinated by the notion of separating the palettes by season.
Now I’m wondering if books can be separated by season too. Do they have a color palette? For example, KILMOON takes place in September, one of my favorite months. So is it an autumn, and would it walk around in russet and gold tones and have red hair?
The funny thing is, my original working title was Kilmoon Season, which my first agent (I told you about her last week) liked. Setting the story in September wasn’t a choice exactly, because the matchmaker’s festival that inspired the novel took place each September. I stuck with that month, and it fit me, it fit the novel. It fit me because I always seem to go through some kind of growth spurt (or maybe a setback, but in any case, a change) in fall.
I went through many seasons of change while writing and revising Kilmoon. Many of these changes had to do with my notion of myself as a writer — and more specifically, a novelist. In addition, my characters felt changes coming upon them too. They noticed the chill in the air and scents coming in off the harvesting fields, the peat smoke and heather shimmering at the start of its autumnal turn to purple.
Like us, our characters notice these things but don’t always understand that change is upon them until after the changes have occurred. In Kilmoon, and in my life, autumn is the season of change.