Friday, September 28, 2012

Tag...You’re It!

I was recently tagged by Colette Saucier and asked to participate in “The Next Big Thing”. It’s a blogging game featuring lots of your favorite authors, and we’ll be sharing a little information about our works-in-progress.

Like many writers, I usually have a number of different projects going on at any given time. I’m working on  two novellas, putting ideas together for National Novel-Writing Month (coming up in November), and finishing a full-length historical romance. I’d like to tell you a little about the novel.

The working title is Summertime. The original idea for the story came from my childhood summers. My sister and I spent a lot of time on the family farm near Indian Grove, Missouri. I can’t call it a town, really. It consisted of one feed store, one grocery store, and a tractor repair shop. The population could be counted on two hands.

Each year when “Decoration Day” approaches, marking the beginning of summer, my thoughts turn to the farm. I get nostalgic for the big house with its wrap-around porch, the smell of corn stored in the hot, metal Butler buildings, the hayloft of the old barn, and even the jimson weeds and brambles that grew up along the edges of the fields.

When I went searching about for a new story idea a few months ago, my thoughts went at once to the farm. I wanted to write about those hot, dusty days, the starry summer nights, and the old-fashioned values that are so much a part of our rural heritage. My initial idea was that I’d follow a rather familiar storyline: the hard-working heroine desperately trying to save the family farm.

But, things happen when a writer sits down and begins putting words on the page. Ideas change. Characters come to life and speak out. As I explored the possibilities for my plot, I quickly discovered that my idea had turned itself on its head. Linn Sparks, the heroine of Summertime, doesn’t want to save the farm. She hates it. She wants nothing more than to sell it off to somebody else -- despite her parents’ objections.

Summertime is set in rural Kansas, in the fictional town of Brookfield. Set in the early part of the 20th century, it would fall under the category of “sweet” historical romance.

One of the questions for “The Next Big Thing” interview was this: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I can’t give much of an answer for that question, because I’m not a movie-goer. I can’t name any popular stars, so I’ll have to pass on that one.

To sum the storyline up in a single sentence -- and maybe whet your appretite -- I’d say this: Passions flare in the heat of Summertime.

The story is not contracted with any publisher at this time. Once the manuscript is completed, I’ll send it out in search of a publisher, and hopefully it will find a home. If not, self-publishing is always an option.

The first, rough draft of the story was written in about thirty days. I then spent about three months making notes, fleshing-out the characters, and deepening the conflicts they face. Now, I’m working on what I call a “final” draft -- although getting to that stage may require several drafts in the interim.

Over the years, I’ve read a lot of “Americana” stories -- stories of families and farming, stories of the simple, old-fashioned values of rural America. That’s the feeling I want to capture with Summertime, and I think it would compare with other romances in that sub-genre.

What inspired me to write the story was my love of the old farm house. Even though my main character and I don’t share the same point-of-view...well, not right at first, at least. Yes, in time, Linn Sparks does come to realize how much Brookfield, Kansas, means to her. “Coming home” is a central theme of the story.

It’s also a story of forgiveness...and a story of secrets. 

I’d like to thank Colette Saucier again for inviting me to take part in this blogging game, and I’ll now tag a few more authors.  Be sure to visit their pages and learn what they have in the works.

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