Tuesday, October 13

Careful or You'll End Up In My Novel...

Moe
So, right off (we need a drum roll here), today is release day for our Liz Flaherty's yummy Christmas novella, The Gingerbread Heart--you can see the fabulous cover up there in our banner. Her story is part of a boxed set of 12 holiday novellas from a group of amazing authors--click and order, okay? Thanks!

This past weekend I took a couple of days away from editing gigs to take part in some fun activities. Saturday, we drove down to the hills about an hour south of home, met some friends at a state park, and went to winery. Good fun, good fellowship, and pretty darn good wine. The trip was even more fun because pal Moe (that's her over on the left--gorgeous smile, eh?) is not only a great friend, but she's also a fan and graciously pimps my books whenever she gets the chance. A glass of wine gave me the courage to introduce myself to potential readers at the winery, shamelessly pass out swag, and by golly, even sell a few books!

Sunday, we celebrated my mother-in-law's ninetieth birthday with a family dinner that included cake and gifts and singing. She's kind of a shy person, so being surrounded by family--in person and on FaceTime--seemed a touch overwhelming for her. But she got a giant kick out of seeing Grandboy onscreen all the way from the West Coast and hearing him call her "Grandma Great." She smiled, watching while Sister PJ and I tried not to drop the iPhone into a pan full of butternut squash risotto. We were showing it to master chef Son--getting his thoughts on whether we should go sweet or savory with the dish. (Sweet won because I didn't have any Penzey's 4S.) 

All this got me to thinking about writing (I know, I know, everything makes me think about writing...) and how we bring our everyday life into our stories. For instance, Liz's characters are often quilters and tea drinkers--two thing I always associate with Liz's real life. My characters are wine drinkers and need to be near the lake (sound familiar?). As a matter of fact, the winery really got me to thinking about the current WIP--the next Women of Willow Bay book, where the heroine is a winemaker who lives near Lake Michigan. I took mental notes as we sat and sipped, paying close attention to the ambiance of the winery and how the winemaker interacted with her customers. Yeah, that'll probably help me create the winery scenes in Tessa and Jack's story. (See what I did there? A little hint about the new book...)

Sunday's birthday party got me to thinking about women who have lived long lives--like my mother-in-law. A story has been brewing about a woman who inherits a house from her aunt, who was quite elderly when she passed away, maybe even older than anyone ever imagined... (Yep, see? I did it again...) After everyone left, I grabbed my notebook to scribble some quick thoughts about my mother-in-law, words that described her demeanor and her reactions. She won't be in the story, of course, but she'll help me create Aunt Anna...

http://www.cafepress.com/mf/90679029/careful-or-youll-end-up-in-my-novel-writer_tshirt?productId=1433594008
CafePress.com
The old joke "Careful or you'll end up in my novel" is probably truer that any of us care to admit. So come on, 'fess up--how often are characters or even just characteristics of a character based on someone you know?


8 comments:

  1. Great picture of Moe! I imagine we put more of people we know into books than we realize. Of course, I'm never smart enough to take notes, but I do know that scene in the hotel dining room where we worked for hours left an indelible impression on me that will have to find a use. :-)

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    1. Yeah, even if we don't take notes, everything stays tucked away ready to come out when we need it. I only take notes in that I think of words I want to remember. Seems like I have great words until I face the blank page and then somehow they all vanish. I'm blaming years of diet soda because it's surely not me getting old and forgetful... ;-) Congrats on the new release, baby!

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    2. I totally agree, Nan. The great words are there when you can't write them down. I carry one of those tiny flip notebooks that B&N sells in my pocket along with a pen at work so I can take a note if I have to when I'm on the floor. The other day I got tired of picking up clothes that fell to the floor. And I thought, "clothes puddled on the floor" because that's what they look like. So--I found a corner and scribbled down the phrase. I don't when or if I'll ever use it. But I like it.

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  2. Nan, you have such a wealth of great people in your life, you will never want for inspiration!

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    1. I am so lucky, Ava, and I count you among my riches! Hugs, sweetie!

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  3. I love to people watch, and I know a few have wound up in my books. :D

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  4. At work we have a suitcase section and I love to walk through and imagine going somewhere--even though I don't. And thus, Ana was born. Her hero, Danny, is an amputee missing a hand like my softball coach from years ago. And Danny has the same no-nonsense attitude about it that my coach had.

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    1. There you go, Margie...that's exactly how it happens. The oddest things can inspire great stuff, huh?

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