As soon as I knew my Christmas novella had to be set on a beach, I knew where it was going to take place.
St. Simon's Island.
It's a little spot of paradise off the Georgia coast. And it's where I had my honeymoon.
Gnarled old oaks, limbs bent every which way and some even resting on the ground, all dripping with Spanish moss. An old lighthouse that has a fascinating story. An old fort. Quite a few ancient church buildings. And a beach full of shells and waves and salty air.
Want to go?
Have you ever been reading along and wished you could see exactly how a house or plot of land looked that the character lives in. Well, today is your lucky day.
In going through the edits for Writing Home, my editor couldn't picture exactly how everything looked the way I had described it. To make both our lives easier, I sketched out a rough (seriously, super rough with no measuring whatsoever) floor plan of the land Jordan's family lives on (see above) as well as his cabin (see below).
Let's talk best friends. Because, to be honest, Christiana and Jordan wouldn't have much of a story in Writing Home, if not for Tina.
Tina and Chris grew up down the street from each other in their Nashville suburb, and were almost inseparable until Chris left to go to Huntsville for college. Now, Tina is still at home, and wishes Chris were, too.
When Chris asks for a pen pal, Tina immediately thinks of her cousin Jordan, who she used to write in middle and high school. And maybe for a few other reasons, too, but she's not disclosing those yet.
Jordan White, the other main character of my book, Writing Home, lives in Louisiana. Just outside of Shreveport on his family's land, to be exact. He inherited his grandfather's cabin, just down the yard and across the driveway from his parents' house.
Growing up in that part of the world, it's natural for him to love all things outdoors--hiking, fishing, hunting, football. And since they have several acres of wooded area, as well as a pond, he's pretty happy to stay right where he is.
As we gear up to welcome my newest book into the world in a week and a half (not that I'm counting or anything), I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the characters and some other behind-the-scenes tid-bits.
Here's Christiana Jones. She grew up hearing stories of Huntsville from her dad, who went to college there. It became her dream, so she went to school there and stayed. But for some reason, it doesn't feel like home to her. Maybe that's why she hasn't unpacked all of the boxes in her apartment despite having been there almost three years.
She's working at a pediatric clinic as one of the receptionists, and is good at her job, but it no longer brings satisfaction.
When I first wrote Saving Grace back in 2013, I started it in a slightly different spot than where it starts now. The scene was deleted during various editing stages, for various reasons. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share it here, where you could see my original beginning, before you actually get to read the story itself.
**By the way, just two more weeks until it releases, and next week I'm planning to give some sneak peeks of chapters that are still in the book itself, just to give you a taste for it!
Leah’s breath came out in a whoosh. Her abdominal muscles tightened, starting from her back and then reaching around to her front. The baby gave a kick, as if to say she didn’t appreciate being squeezed that way.
“Just a little bit longer and we’ll get you out of there.” Leah rubbed the spot where the foot had bumped. “Trust me. Neither one of us is comfortable right now.”
John looked over at her and she gave him a smile of reassurance.
“They’re getting closer together.” He looked more concerned than she was. It was so cute.
“And that’s why we’re on the way to the hospital.”
I have been in many, many church buildings through the years. Perks of being a preacher's daughter, among other reasons. Apparently, though, some of them stuck with me more than others, and they're sneaking into my writing.
As I was rereading Saving Grace during edits, it hit me that I'd pictured a particular church building from my past when describing the one in the story. Greg is the youth minister, so several scenes take place there.
The church building in my head is the one I was married in. Since I can't go running off to Arkansas right now to do a walk-through video and show you this charming building, I am doing the next best thing and showing pictures as I describe it.
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)