Behind the Story: Michelle
My newest book, Saving Grace, releases in just over a month, on October 6th. Over the next weeks, I'm going to be giving you behind the scenes peeks, insight into my characters, a deleted scene, and even a glimpse of a chapter or two to get you ready to hold this book in your hands. Today, here's my main character, Michelle Wilson.
Michelle Wilson grew up in the little town of Cedar Springs, Arkansas. Her goal in life? To be one of the star reporters on the local paper.
When the job goes to the nephew of the main editor instead of Michelle, she takes a job in Little Rock for a few years. But now the position is open once more, and Michelle is headed home. She plans to start up a small photography business on the side, and already has a wedding booked.
Thanks so much for joining us this week. This is the final part of my birthday gift to you, a fun short story. I hope you loved it, or that it at least made your week a bit brighter.
If you need to catch up, the first day is here, Tuesday is here, Wednesday is here, and Thursday is here. Enjoy the end!
Rachel mulled over what she thought she heard in the background on Chris’s end. Had his GPS actually told him to take the exit she was about to turn on? Maybe she assumed that’s what she heard because it was on her brain.
“We’re getting close now.” Kathy pointed to the right. “It says turn here and go about five miles.”
“Are you rooming with someone or did you reserve a room to yourself?” Kathy leaned back. “I hate sharing a room. I always fear my snoring will keep them awake.”
“Oh. No. I’m rooming with someone I met at a local group a year ago. She’s coming up from a different direction. But we both needed the discount.”
“I understand. Anyone who thinks writers do this for the money are crazy. I always want to apologize to my accountant when I turn in my expense report at the end of the year.” Kathy rambled on for the rest of the ride and even halfway through the state park as they meandered their way through cathedral-like trees and past the golf course.
Rachel gratefully parked and grabbed her two bags before heading into the hotel and conference center. She’d check in to her room first and then figure out where everyone was meeting. The man at the counter held up a finger while finishing up a phone call.
“Yes.” He hung up and lifted a brow.
“I have a reservation. Rachel Hall.”
Thanks so much for joining us this week to read my birthday gift to you, a short story. If you need to catch up, the first day is here, Tuesday is here, and yesterday is here. Have fun!
If it were any other ringtone, Chris would ignore it. After all, he had a fifteen-year-old he had to set an example for, and breaking the law wasn’t the way to do it. However, it was Rachel’s song, and with her on the road, he didn’t want to risk missing something important.
“Hey Rach.” He pushed the button to send the call through his car’s speaker system.
“Chris, where are you?”
“What?” He glanced around, making sure she wasn’t actually in one of the cars nearby. “Why?”
“Maddie just called and said you didn’t come back to pick her up after practice.” Rachel’s voice was near tears.
“Calm down. I talked to her about the plan earlier and she knows what it is. She’s not stranded. I promise. She probably forgot it would be a different vehicle and looked for yours.” He searched his brain to make sure he hadn’t said anything he wasn’t ready to reveal yet.
“So, you picked her up?”
“It’s taken care of.” He hated that he was having to phrase things in a way it was almost a falsehood, but she’d understand soon enough.
“Okay. I just worried. I mean, she was supposed to have left half an hour ago and she just called in the last ten minutes ...”
Thanks so much for joining us this week to read my birthday gift to you, a short story. If you need to catch up, the first day is here and yesterday is here. Have fun!
Rachel pushed through the garage door, arms full of plastic bags. Chris’s voice carried from the direction of his office—must be on a phone call. Of course. And Maddie was nowhere to be found. Looked like two more trips to the car for her.
She set the last bags on the counter and started putting things away. There should be enough time to throw Benjamin’s stinky things in the wash before she left this afternoon. Assuming he came home right after practice.
“What’s that?” Maddie appeared at Rachel’s elbow as she unbagged several frozen meals.
“Food that’s easy for you guys to fix while I’m gone. I meant to make a few things in advance, but then I got busy with a new story idea and the next thing I knew, I was out of time.” Rachel stuffed the pasta and veggie dish into the freezer. “At least this way I know you’ll eat something besides pizza or burgers.”
“What’s wrong with pizza and burgers?” Maddie opened a pack of cookies and stuffed one in her mouth.
“Besides all the carbs and fat?” Rachel snatched the package away and stashed it in the top of the pantry before her daughter could eat another. “Nothing. But veggies are better for you.”
“You act like you’re going to be gone forever.” Maddie rolled her eyes. “It’s only a weekend.”
Thanks for joining us this week for a short story. If you missed the previous section, read it here.
Why couldn’t he do anything right?
The coffee—it was supposed to be a sweet surprise for her. Fixed exactly the way she liked it. And he knew he’d gotten the ratio of creamer to sugar to roast right because he’d seen the blissful expression on her face as she took another sip.
She hadn’t even said anything about the card. That had been a stupid idea. A poem. Who did he think he was? Wordsworth? Browning? Store-bought would have been a better idea. And maybe flowers.
Well, he still had time to do those, but they’d just wilt while she was gone.
“Dad, are we going?” Benjamin waved a hand in front of Chris’s face.
“Yes. Got your gear?” Chris grabbed his wallet and keys. “Come on, Maddie. Time to drop your brother off at practice.”
“Why can’t I stay home?” She gave him attitude better known for someone a year older.
“Because I don’t trust you.” He motioned with his head for her to head to the truck.
Benjamin filled up the passenger side with his long legs, pads, and helmet. “When can I drive?”
“When you have your permit.” Chris reversed out of the garage. “Have you even been studying for the test?”
“Some.” Benjamin ran his fingers through his hair, combing it over to one side. The curls flopped back into disarray almost immediately, but Chris didn’t tell him. The helmet would mess up any fancy ‘do Benjamin tried to achieve right now anyway.
“Dad, what about Grandma?” Maddie spoke up from the back.
Last year, for my birthday, I wrote a short story and shared a piece each day of that week. Everyone seemed to enjoy it so much, I am doing it again. This year, the story isn't about a birthday girl, but I hope you enjoy it just as much. Make sure to check back every day through Friday this week to keep reading more. I can't wait to hear what you think. (Maybe this will hold you until my next book comes out in October. ;-))
Rachel rolled over and reached toward Chris’s side. The sheet was smooth under her hand ... and cool, letting her know he’d already been up a while. A glance at the clock confirmed the alarm hadn’t even gone off yet. She swallowed the disappointment of not being able to kiss her husband good morning first thing on their twentieth anniversary.
Twenty years. Had it really been that long? Surely it had only been a few revolutions around the sun since she was a bride. Not two decades.
She silenced the buzzing that started next to her head. Time to start the day, even if it wasn’t how she had envisioned when she drifted to sleep last night. And the chaos to be organized for the next eighteen hours was enough to make her want to dive back beneath the covers. No time for a celebration this year.
After a quick run through the shower, she slipped into the outfit she’d laid out the evening before. It wasn’t anything fancy. The retreat she was headed to later that day was casual—jeans and a nice shirt. She’d been warned to take a sweater, too, as the conference room tended to run cold.
“Mom, we’re going to be late if we don’t leave right now.” Benjamin stuck his head out of his bedroom door, his hair standing up in every direction imaginable. Football was the only thing exciting enough to pull her sophomore out of bed before ten on a summer morning.
“Your father is taking you today. Remember?” She tweaked his ear before he could dodge her. “Besides, you have half an hour before practice starts and we only live five minutes away. Calm your bones.”
Today, I'm pleased to introduce you to a very sweet author friend, Laurean Brooks. I had the pleasure to meet her two years ago at KenTen Writers' Retreat, and we've kept in touch ever since. Her stories are fun and full of easy-to-love characters. Read on to get to know her better and hear about her newest book, which sounds delightful!
Laurean, how long have you been writing and what inspired you to first get started?
Amy, first of all I want to thank you for taking the time to interview me. I’m honored to be your guest. To answer your question, I’ve been writing since 5th grade, but first had essays published in our local Hometown magazine in December 2002. It was six years later before I finished my first book, Journey To Forgiveness. This book will always be close to my heart because it’s based on my parents’ lives during the Great Depression. A romance with plenty of angst, but also plenty of humor.
I'm always interested when I notice another author has a similar work listed on her resume. We were both legal assistants (although I only did it for two years). Has your work history influenced your writing? Do you tend to write a lot of characters who have jobs you've had in the past? Any examples?
I only worked as a legal assistant two years, also. Four attorneys in four years. They kept downsizing, and guess who was let go. Yeah, me. I think I was too friendly for the job. LOL. Anyway, I decided to take the computer lessons I’d had in college and try my hand as a writer. It has always been my dream. My heroine in To Trust Her Heart is a legal assistant. I was able to use my experience to develop her. And believe me, Amanda’s nemesis was not far from what I was exposed to. I don’t think I could work in an office environment for long. I’ve noticed a lot of conflict among the ladies who are coworkers. And each one tries to get you to take her side.
Most of my working years was spent in a garment factory. I loved the people, but hated the grueling work on a production line sewing machine. I was eventually promoted to Quality Control, but then I grieved because I was the bad guy who sent imperfect work back to the other workers. Probably I was hated as much as Matthew, the tax collector. LOL.
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)