Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Connecticut Novel/Connecticut Mourns

Today is a little different as I'm honored to be part of Bette Stevens Blog Tour.

Before I tell you about my book in progress, let me just say that I'm from Newtown, CT and all the horrors that happened there last Friday affect me in a personal way because it is my town that evil has entered. I lived in Newtown for sixteen years, all three of my children grew up in Newtown and even attended Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I lived in Newtown right up until I moved to California.  My prayers are with all the people in Newtown, as the entire town is in mourning.

I didn't intend to start with a downer but felt I had to mention where I'm from.  On to the blog tour!


What is the working title of your book? Willard Manor

Where did the idea come from for your book? I was wondering one day what a house would say if it could talk and tell about its past owners. From that, I started writing about a fictional house built in Connecticut in 1840 by John Willard. Members of his family owned the house for the next 170 years. In 2010, a young married couple buy the house and in the process of renovating it, find clues to the former owners of the house. The chapters go back and forth from 2010 to 1840 and up.

What genre does your book fall under? Historical Fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play in a movie rendition? Shelley and Tony Maguire, the young couple renovating the house, would be played by Kate Hudson and Matt Damon. Other than John and Mary Willard, all the other characters in the story are born in the house, live their lives, and die, generation after generation so it would be difficult to have one person portray them as they age constantly.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? Willard Manor is the story of one house and the family who called it home for one hundred and seventy years.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Good question. I've been querying agents and publishers, which would be my first choice. As a last resort, I'll self-publish through Lulu.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Probably seven or eight months. I had to research the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, septic tanks, electricity, the telephone, polio, WWI, WWII, Woodstock, growing marijuana, making moonshine, furniture styles from different periods, etc.

What other books would you compare this story to? Not that I would ever compare myself to James Michener, but his books come to mind, where he tells the story of multiple generations of one family in a particular locale.

Who or what inspired you to write the book? The members of my writing group suggested I try a novel as all my other books were non-fiction.

What else about the book might pique the readers’ interest? John Willard's second son, Thomas, plants apple seeds as a little boy and watches the tree grow. Thomas leaves home to fight in the Civil War and comes back in a casket. That year, his tree produces its first apples. Thomas' apple tree is an integral part of the story.

For other authors' blogs, I suggest you visit:

Lisa Fender at
Candy Korman at
Larry Edwards at

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Elementary

When you hear deerstalker hat, cape, pipe, magnifying glass, and London, what comes to your mind?  If you said Sherlock Holmes, then you’ve read the exploits of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous literary character.  This month marks the 125th  birthday of Detective Holmes.

Some of us, most of us, who write keep our day job because the income from our efforts on the keyboard couldn’t keep a bird alive.  And my little bird, Crash, would surely like to be kept alive.  However, Arthur Conan Doyle was a doctor (not bad for a day job), but he wrote stories to bring in extra income.  Would that we could be so lucky as to strike gold with a character like Holmes!

What was different about Sherlock Holmes?  Doyle introduced him as the first detective to solve crimes based on scientific methods.  You could say he became the first CSI agent.  CSI London?

I visited 221B Baker Street in London.  It was difficult to walk around the apartment, stand in front of the fireplace, see books and a pipe on an end table, and realize this was the apartment of an imaginary character.  Maybe the apartment was a product of my imagination as well!

Holmes solved his cases by observing.  Little things most people wouldn’t see, he took note of and filed away in his ever-inquisitive brain.  I’m happy not being too observing, that way I don’t see the dust on the picture frames.  What I don’t see, I don’t have to clean. But I wouldn’t mind having a few more filing cabinets in my brain to store things; maybe then I’d remember where I left my keys or what I came into a room for.  Sherlock Holmes, I’m not.  It’s elementary my dear ….