|paperback or ebook|
This song's original music and lyrics are usually credited to Percy Montross, circa 1880. Since then, Clementine has become a popular song with countless different stanzas that children sing in school, Scouts, and around summer campfires.
Most folklore and modern urban legends often have some basis in truth. In this vein, The Waiting Light follows themes from the lyrics. I pretended the song was a legend spawned from Clementine's life, so using clues from the verses, I worked backwards: her father was a "forty-niner" and they lived "in a canyon" by a river. She cared about animals ("drove she ducklings to the water ev'ry morning just at nine"), but she stumbled from a bridge ("hit her foot against a splinter") and fell into "the foaming brine." As for the herring boxes, they're mentioned in the novel, but not as the exaggerated image that ends up in the song (size-nine sandals).
The singer appears to be a grieving beau: "I kissed her little sister, forgot my Clementine," is a curious ending which inspired my imagination. Who were these people, what happened, and why? So in my story I gave Clementine a father, a sweetheart and a little sister, and included them in the mystery.
I hope you enjoy this new release!