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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How Not to Write a Love Story

Love stories are sometimes tricky things. Oh, they all have more or less the same elements. Boy meets Girl, Boy falls for Girl, or Girl falls for Boy, or sometimes they do the falling simultaneously. Something--parents, social standing, dark histories, hidden angst, the list is infinite--brings about conflict in the relationship. In the end, Love wins, resulting in the expected Happily Ever After. Or Not. That's where the tricky part comes in.
SHANNON'S DAUGHTER is one of those tricky love stories. You might say it was written in reverse. The ending had already been revealed in another book, so there was no going back. To help the reader understand certain things about the story of Peg Shannon and Kendall Gregg, I wrote a Foreword, hoping to ward off the outrage of those who demand the typical fade-to-black-as-the-string-music-rises ending. Unfortunately, it seems a fair number of readers just click right past the Foreword, thus missing my carefully thought out introduction. 
SHANNON'S DAUGHTER will be FREE for Kindle October 1-5. Please help yourself to a copy, but be sure to read the Foreword! (I've even included it here!)Then you can't say you weren't forewarned that this is not your typical love story, not your typical happy-ever-after ending, and sit back and  enjoy the story of two exceptional people falling in love. 

      When I first met Peg Shannon, in the early pages of Hearts Unfold, I had no idea she would become more than a reference to the older woman in Stani Moss’s romantic past.  It’s fair to say she insinuated herself into the plot, becoming a central secondary character who just would not go away.  I thought briefly about turning her into a source of conflict, but that didn’t seem to fit.  Peg, despite her questionable history with Stani, was not a “bad” woman.  Her heart was invariably in the right place, although her methods were often unorthodox.  To put it simply, Peg intrigued me from the beginning and I was curious as to what she might do next.
By the end of the fourth book in what became the Miracle at Valley Rise series, my curiosity demanded answers.  I knew I wanted to explore Peg’s history, her back story.  I wanted to discover who and what had influenced her.  I knew there had to be more to Peg than met the eye, more than a wealthy, independent woman who played life by her own rules. 
I had some boundaries, facts already established, and a timeline to follow.  I couldn’t rewrite Peg’s past.  It had to mesh with what we already knew from the series.  Challenged by this and the fact that Peg’s story would not fit into the same inspirational genre as the Miracle at Valley Rise books, I had my work cut out for me. 
My saving grace was a name, Kendall Gregg.  All we knew about Kendall was that he was a man in Peg’s past, a love affair.  Their relationship had ended before she met Stani, but they had remained friends.  Not much to go on.  That is, until I “met” Kendall.  As is true with many of my characters, Kendall walked into the room, introduced himself and led me on a merry and at times breathless chase.  He turned out to be the source for everything I wanted to know about Peg, so I let him tell the story from his perspective.  The result is Shannon's Daughter, a traditionally romantic tale with a nontraditional but ultimately happy ending.

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