My Christmas card is usually the first one in your mailbox. But I admit this greeting is early, even for me. My Christmas book this year doubles as an all-year message that God has big plans for little ones.
Believe it or not, this wedding-cake topper dates back to August 4, 1944, the anniversary of Helen and Frank Daley, my parents. Actually, the wedding dress should be an Army uniform too. They met in boot camp, married a few weeks later and were sent to different countries overseas as Army doctor and Army nurse. All they had to keep their marriage together were letters. They wrote each other 2-3 times a day. For over a decade, I’ve worked at writing a novel based on stories I’ve heard my whole life and pairing some of the over 600 letters they left me. In March, my “dream book” will be released: With Love, Wherever You Are: A Novel. I probably shouldn’t be blogging about this so far in advance of release, but I’m too excited not to.
I love how every book finds its way. I have writing friends who won’t start a story until they know the ending. Many of these “plotters” plot out their entire books, outlining each chapter, every scene. Other writers, the “pantsters,” write by the seat of their pants, unaware of what lies ahead in plot and resolution. Most of the time, I think I fall somewhere in between. Like a plotter, I’m uncomfortable not knowing where a story is heading. I can’t visualize and build to a climax. But I’m just as uncomfortable writing without the surprise and discovery of a pantster.
LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA “came” like no other book I’ve written. I woke at 3 am and could hear a tough kid saying: “This isn’t about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up.” I knew enough to get out of bed and write. With no idea of the plot, I felt I knew this strong, defensive kid who would tell me LARA’s story, but didn’t want to tell me hers. Each morning I couldn’t wait to write and see what would happen next. I was two chapters into it before I realized the subtle theme of bullying inherent to the story. I was over halfway through the book when I realized the narrator, who was learning how to write, was teaching the reader everything I know about writing a story. I had to go back and label chapters: Character, The Beginning, A Frozen Moment, Setting, Opposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, etc.