Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Grace-filled Tuesdays ("Meeting" #24): Austen Talk, and a Giveaway Reminder

It's Book Club time again!  Because Tuesday's child is full of Grace...and Molly, and Theresa, and--well, you get the idea.  ;)

I do love the meme I've been using for the club.  When I found this vintage-y-looking drawing of this sailor suit-clad little Victorian lass reading a book, it was like, "Bingo!"  It was perfect--just what I was looking for.  (Why don't little girls wear gigantic hair bows like this anymore?!)

Anyhoo--let's talk books.

Some readers might deduce that my first novel, Finding Grace, is at least partly autobiographical, since Grace Kelly starts high school the very same year I did, falls in love with a handsome, gap-toothed boy like I did, etc., etc., etc.  But it really isn't.  However, I don't think a novelist--especially a first-time novelist--can help but have parts of themselves and the people and places with which they are most familiar in their first efforts; at least that was true for me.  But if this sort of thing is good enough for the likes of  Jane Austen, then I suppose it's good enough for me.  Here are some quotes about Austen's writing that I've used before here at the book club:

"Jane wrote her early pieces for the amusement of her family and friends, and she put in shared jokes, teasing jibes, and allusions to real events in their lives."

"Austen is never autobiographical in the crude sense of recording what happened to her or to people she knew.  But a real situation was sometimes her starting point and developed in her imagination as something quite separate from the 'real'."

Please don't think I'm trying to say that I should ever even be mentioned in the same breath as that esteemed 19th-century author (the nerve!); but those passages from Jon Spence's biography Becoming Jane Austen perfectly describe the method to my madness when it comes to writing fiction.  Many of the characters and scenes in my books come completely from my imagination; but others have their starting points with real people or situations and then develop into something entirely different in order to fit into my story.  (Case in point: at our last "meeting," I told you how I took a loving pat on the head from my future father-in-law, a gesture that made an indelible impression on me, and transformed it into a touching exchange between Tom and Grace in Finding Grace.)

There is less of me and the people I know in Erin's Ring.  Having spent four-and-a-half years bleeding onto the page (that is, onto the computer screen) with Finding Grace, I thought that was the one and only novel I would ever write; when I finally finished it, I was pretty sure that I didn't have another one in me.  So Molly and Theresa, the main characters in Erin's Ring, are wholly fictional creatures--unlike Grace Kelly, whose confidence issues, shyness, and deep love for a boy she meets in high school were well-known to me.  The only trait Molly and I share is an obsession with combing through the attics of old houses in search of treasures that hint at a romantic past.  At her age, if I'd found an antique Irish Claddagh ring buried in the dirt, engraved with the names of two lovers, I would have been every bit as intrigued by it as she is.

That being said, Molly's dad is an airline pilot (like my husband) who is also a talented wood-worker (like my husband).  And Molly's parents have just the sort of loving relationship--one with lots of teasing and laughter, and a deep shared love of family life--with which I have been blessed in my marriage.  I definitely thought of my hubby when I created Dan McCormick.  So there are small bits of my real life embedded in my second book, too.

Okay then, before we adjourn this "meeting"--
I just want to remind you that I'm giving away five free copies of Erin's Ring.  Share news of the giveaway on your favorite form of social media (on your blog, Instagram, or Twitter, using the hashtag #erinsringgiveaway), and you'll be entered to win.   Winners will be chosen and announced on Nov. 1.

I'm not the best marketer/promoter, so I could really use your help sreading the word about this giveaway.  I actually roped my family in to help with the campaign, and look at the photos I've been using, featuring my middle son and my two youngest grandchildren, Princesa and Junior.  These peeps of mine are so adorable that for the first time ever, I got lots of people to re-tweet my tweets on Twitter.  (Really, who can resist these these faces?!)

You're probably smiling now, aren't you?

And on that note: until next time, dear readers...


  1. Yes, I am smiling! I love your blog!!!

    1. You are my most loyal reader (after my hubby, of course!) :)

  2. Smiling for sure. Thanks to Rini for posting this.