An inspirational Southern historical novel
The Great Depression brings devastation to
The Southern Appalachians but love’s triangle survives.
To escape his poppa’s physical abuse and their dirt-poor farm life, Jim flees to an imagined prosperous city life where he can make his own choices, ignoring God patiently knocking on his heart’s door. Settled in town, Jim strays from God and the way of faith his momma taught him. He meets a girl and loses his heart … and meets another girl and loses his willpower. Jim wrestles with social and moral dilemmas as he makes a choice beside Caney Creek that will alter the lives of five people.
That Summer is Book #1 in the Caney Creek Series. Book #2 is scheduled to release in April 2013 and Book #3 is scheduled to release in September 2013. Follow the Callaway family through all three books. Live their triumphs, sorrows, achievements, and losses. Walk along with them as they meet faith challenges and fight to regain a rightful place in God's plan.
How That Summer Came To Be:
The setting of That Summer is the Southern Appalachians of East Tennessee where my ancestors and I were raised. I’ve listened to the older generations tell their stories at family reunions about time before telephones and automobiles. Their stories fascinated me and caused me to want to write about a time before I was born.
This story percolated in my mind in the late 1990s. I’m what writers call a panster type of writer. I don’t outline my plot on paper. My entire plot and characters simmer in my mind before I write a word. Many times I don’t know the ending but I know how to get there. Of course, sometimes characters surprise me by going this way when I intended them to go another way. I love how my stories many times work themselves out as I write.
While this story still rumbled around in my mind, in 2001 I received a life altering health diagnosis with a negative prognosis. My first symptom was the loss of penmanship that nobody, even I, could read. Then I began to have involuntary muscle spasms that prevented me from holding my fingers on the home keys of a keyboard. I couldn’t write and couldn’t type—this was before speak-to-type.
I thought my writing career had vanished. I cleaned out my files—even trashed all my rejection letters I’d been saving. Now I wish I’d kept them to prove that I really am a writer. I gave away most of my writing craft books.
My mind was still intact but my body wouldn’t do what it was told. My balance while walking started to diminish and I quit going to writing conferences. My doctor advised me not to drive. I was dependent on my family to even get to my doctor’s appointments and still am.
In 2008, I began to improve. My hands were steadier and I could get my story started. The biggest aggravation when I write anything is the time I have to leave my story to research the facts. When the story starts pouring out of my mind I want to write. I write continuously, not indicating chapters but I do indicate scene and POV changes. After I finish that first draft I go back and do those things.
I have outlived my doctor’s prognosis by over a year and a half. I’m writing the second of a 3-book contract and feel fine other than fatigue when I don’t stop to rest now and then. Fatigue does bring on more unsteadiness in my hands and legs.
From 2001 to 2008 I had a lot of time to meditate. A relative marvels that I’ve never questioned God, why me? I have not become bitter because of the health issues. I think God just gave me time to understand a lot of things when I was inactive. I’m a more peaceful, patient, and faithful me.
This is the way That Summer came to be: hibernated for seven years, and then became a story on paper.
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Jo’s question for you: How would you react if a tragic event put a hold on your writing life? Or any endeavor in your life?
The Giveaway: A paperback copy of THAT SUMMER will be given away to one qualified reader. Entrant must be at least 18 years of age with a US MAILING ADDRESS. Void where prohibited by law.
To enter, please leave your name and full e-mail contact information (you at your isp/domain dot com/net, etc.) Please respond to Jo’s question, or leave a comment about something in this post that interested you.
Giveaway ends Saturday, January 19, at Midnight, Central Time. Winner’s name will be drawn and notified via e-mail on Sunday, January 20.
Thanks, & have fun!