September 23, 2013
My newest novel Sweet New England was released for Kindle on Amazon this morning. The title is from a lovely song my husband wrote in 1980. He always says that many songwriters write about where they grew up. That song is home to him.
Today is an exciting day for me. There are several exciting steps in writing a novel. When I get a concept for a story I first work up an overview in my mind, just the basics. What it is about, who are the main characters, a general beginning, middle and end. Sometimes, but not always, I put together a little outline to balance the story for length and to make sure I tie up loose ends and such. I name my main characters very early as well and build their faces and personalities in my mind. Then I am ready for the first exciting thing about writing a novel. The opening line. It usually comes to me while putting the above together and I either write it down or record it immediately.
The story unfolds from there. I have a direction I am going, but as odd as it seems the characters I have designed in my mind also give me direction. They have to be consistent, of course, but in a way it's as though they come to life. Sometimes while typing a conversation it suddenly makes sense that they would say something or react a particular way. Sweet New England took a direction based on a comment by one of the character's mother. These are the things that help my stories come alive.
When the story ends, and that seems to be a natural point to me, I type those last few lines. Whether my book has a poignant ending, a happy ending, or a sad ending, it's very emotional to me. The people in them are real to me in many ways, as I hope they are to my audience. What a thrill it is to speak to one of my readers and have them tell me that they love a character, or even dislike one. To me it means I have brought them to life for them as well.
The next thrill is the day I see the book listed for sale online. It's exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking. Will people love it, hate it, not care? Is it as good as the last or hopefully a bit better? I hope that's true for Sweet New England and upcoming books.
If the book is well received I then get the thrill of hearing from my readers. Emails, Facebook comments, online reviews, notes, face-to-face discussions all help me to know what people think. I know what they loved and sometimes didn't. I know I have touched their lives and entered their imaginations they way they have entered mine. That is the biggest thrill of all!
I hope you enjoy the new novel. For those of you who like to hold a good old-fashioned paper copy it will be available in paperback very soon.
My next book, Ill Repute is set during the Alaskan Klondike Gold Rush. It is nearly finished and has been an exciting journey to write thus far. I hope you love them all!