About four years ago, I got this idea about a series of books that take place around a Bed and Breakfast on the San Juan Islands. I’ve always loved small towns, I love bed and breakfasts, and I adore long series of novels where I get to know the characters, their quirks, their personalities, and settle into a place as if I actually know the people in them. As a girl, I read Trixie Belden, I read the Mandy novels, Little House on the Prairie, I read every Janette Oke novel I could get my hands on, and always loved the idea of writing a long series with characters that became my friends. This is much harder to do than I thought! However, I began working with the idea of the novel, thinking through where I want the characters to go over the years, and started writing a daily word count … and eventually, I had a rough draft. I sent it to critique partners and worked through their feedback, and over time, my agent shopped it around.
Around that same time, I moved to Chile… and Christian publishing went through some very big changes – in particular to their fiction lines, and my agent just couldn’t get it sold. We shelved it for a while. And I think in the midst of a large life transition to another country, I decided to let it go. But then, it emerged again in my mind because I had an idea for the sequel and it wouldn’t let up. It’s hard to write a sequel if you don’t think you’re going to do anything with first book. Eventually, I had an editor read the manuscript and she had such kind things to say, I decided maybe it wasn’t quite ready for the back file on my computer.
I started working on the sequel, still trying to figure out what I was going to do with the original novel, and got stuck. Horribly stuck. Evening traffic stuck. I got to about 140 pages, and couldn’t write another word. I’d stare at my computer and see a graveyard of manuscripts and maybe a graveyard of dreams … (Have I mentioned moving countries is stressful and hard and sometimes overwhelming?)
So, I closed up my computer and started to go on long walks around my property in the mornings, with the fog and the cool air on my cheeks, and all my writing dreams dormant from too much change. I’d walk to the back of my land, around to the side, up and over the hill and stand on the peak and look out into the lush green valley and the rolling hills and the volcano in the distance, and then I’d walk down the hill with my dogs at my side and I’d think, and think, and then I’d get to a place on my walk where the silence and the solitude and the cool air calmed me enough to settle into the quiet and my tired mind and heart would find repose.
Eventually, the creative well filled up again, and the energy to write and to create came at me with hurricane force. I’m just finishing up the rough draft of something new. Of something that makes me proud and vulnerable and terrified… And along with that has come a renewed desire to share what I’ve written, to let my friends and dear readers see what it is I’ve got tucked up inside me. Writing is such a solitary thing, but the purpose of it is to give something away, to offer a piece of oneself to the world regardless of the cost, and when I shelved An Ordinary Love I shelved a piece of me.
So the other day, I wrote my agent and decided to follow up on a potential publishing opportunity and here we are!
An Ordinary Love is the first of what I hope will be several novels about a feisty red headed woman who runs a bed and breakfast, a shy doctor who lives next door, and a pastor who is trying to accept that God is more mysterious than he’d originally thought. I hope you like it. It certainly came from my heart.