I have seven (almost 8!) novels under my belt. (That number shocks me too.) No one asks me how I finish a novel, but everyone wants to know how I start one, especially how in the the world do I come up with the seeds of a story?
No two stories are born the same.
I wrote one novel to address my deepest fear, another to answer a question about family relationships, and another to see a conflict from a different perspective.
The San Clemente Bait Shop & Telephony came out of special relationships with a group of beautiful women.
A few years ago, I volunteered to teach a Bible study for a group of 30-somethings. Oh my goodness, they were so beautiful. I was deep into my frumpy years by the time I turned thirty, so walking into that first meeting (long past my 30s and still frumpy) was a little unsettling.
I needn’t have worried. They proved to be generous with their affection and eager to learn.
In just a little while we became fast friends, and they opened up their lives to me. They’d already accomplished amazing things, which in some ways I envied. I still feel like I’m just getting started.
What broke my heart about these women was how many of them were mired in regret. At 30. Thirty is really young to be stuck. That’s what regret does. It prevents you from growing emotionally. You’re always looking over your shoulder, talking to your regret.
“You again? Can’t you just leave me alone?”
“Let’s try that again. This time I won’t screw up.”
And so, The San Clemente Bait Shop & Telephony is me imagining how a beautiful woman could be freed from regret.
My next book, Arrivals and Departures, is about an older woman who must be freed from a scarring betrayal. Hmm, it seems I like to usher my characters to freedom.
I’ll be starting novel #9 very soon. Help me with your observations and experiences. What other sorts of things hold women in emotional slavery? That might be my next novel.
You can buy The San Clemente Bait Shop & Telephony here.