This excerpt was in the first draft of The Tide King—it’s a more comprehensive “origin story” of the enchanted herb, burnette saxifrage, that changes the lives of so many people who come in contact with it. It’s also the story of Stanley’s mother, Safine, how she came to America and met Stanley’s father. It was a lot of fun to trace Safine’s immigration to America through Europe, to try and find a route and date that would have Safine and her mother sailing through the Baltimore port and not Ellis Island. So much of The Tide King was the struggle with what I wanted to happen in the narrative and what was historically accurate. Many scenes were cut for that reason—certain things just could not have happened when I wanted them to, when it was convenient for them to happen in the novel. Not so for this excerpt. It fit in the timeline, but in the second revision it became too much of a tangent. It slowed the pace of the novel. So it had to go, kill your babies and all that. I wound up writing over 600 pages for The Tide King over three years and only kept maybe 350 pages, so I could not be overly sentimental about each individual scene. Still, I’ve always regretted (and my editor, too!) that we were unable to keep these chapters about Safine and Ela.
To read the excerpt, go here.