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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Stories behind Stories

      As writers we all tend to have stories behind some of our books that we hold dear to us, or we form attachments to the books because of. I have several and thought I'd share them with you. Not because I'm vain, but because by seeing what has gone on behind the scenes of a book, you
can begin to understand more about the author and the books themselves.
First there was Jodi's Journey. This book was the first book I wrote after my husband died. I wasn't able to write for two years because of his death. I simply just couldn't concentrate my efforts to a book, I was grieving and allowed myself the time to heal. I had to, there was no choice. But I went to San Antonio with my grandsons. While I was there I visited the Alamo, a special place in my heart for the place. I bought a book in the Alamo store about real trail drivers in the 1800's. Thus began the book of Jodi's Journey. Set after the civil war in Texas, it tells of a tale of a cattle drive, headed by a woman from Texas and an ex-army officer who came back from the war with a cowardly reputation. Both the characters had a lot to live down, and from living and learning, they learned to love.
Another book with a history was Pretend Mom. This book was one of my first, and I joined a critique group to get a gauge of where my book was and what people might think of it. The group literally beat the book up and gave me a bashing. They said it would never fly. It was the first book I had published, only a year later. Goes to show sometimes it doesn't pay to listen to others, especially if they are struggling themselves to write.
A two books I wrestled with to write were Along Came Love, and Dancing with the Preacherman. Now Along Came Love was the fourth book of the Travers Brothers Series and it has a man who passed the bar exam, searching his soul to become a preacher instead. Now this might not seem hard to some, but writing a love story about a preacher is hard. What I decided was, "Hey, preachers are people too. They have a life, so tell it." I did. It has done well. The second one, Dancing with the Preacherman was hard because I put it at odds, I had a girl that had been a dancehall girl, fall in love with the town preacher. Believe me, these kinds of book are more of a challenge than you can imagine. How not to offend the reader, and yet entice them. A lot of work, and thought goes into these books. But a reader might not know this. They could think we know all about such, but you really have some limits in these kinds of books.
Controversy like in Runaway Bride, where a girl starts to marry a man and realizes almost too late that he is gay. Talk about handling something with kid gloves. This was hard. How not to offend, but tell the story? This was also a hard book to write.
Always Remember was a book I wrote that was highly sensual, in that the girl thought she needed to love every man. And why she thought that. It dug deep but I think I managed to show the girl growing in this book, like few others. It shows how real heroism comes sometimes from the inner struggles of a human. It was difficult to write because there were so many taboos in the story. But I like to blend reality, with fantasy in a book. When you read a book of fiction, you like to think you can envision the people in them. Rose Anderson in my book became a very real person, and the ups and downs of the war show in the family, and the lives they led. Real war scenes, characters more life-like. And making those characters grow up and face a reality made me feel as though I'd written something worthwhile.
All writers have books that are special to them for different reasons. It's how we grow as writers and each new challenge makes us better. I write about real issues and sometimes this is a drawback to a writer, but I believe life is about real issues so we must show how some overcome.
Now that I shared a little about me and my writing, I hope you can see where I'm coming from and where others writers do too.
Writing to me is like sharing a slice of life with someone.
Sometimes writing is a profound experience. But in each book a little bit of real life exists.
Thanks for letting me share.



Pretend MoM

Along Came Love

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Rita, and so true. I suspect most authors have a good chunk of their souls reflected in their stories.