Today is the final blog in my series of the story behind the story. If you follow my Pam Harris, author page on Facebook, you already know some of what I’ve shared. Even so, maybe you will enjoy a refresher.
I belong to a writers group that meets monthly. Our group consists of multi-published authors, authors not yet published, and a few people who don’t yet write but are interested in learning the craft. A couple of us came up with the idea of writing novellas set on the beach and having them published in one volume. Our original plan was to get the book published by the beginning of summer to give vacationers a beach read, but other responsibilities got in the way, and the book didn’t release until this past September.
But that’s okay. An island story can be appealing in any season.
The only guideline for us was to write in first person. This was new to three of the writers. As a matter of fact, it was Diane’s first book ever. We decided it would be easier not to have our characters connected in any way. They’re not sisters or cousins or friends. Each story stands on its own, unlike the novellas I blogged about yesterday.
I knew where the setting of my book had to be. The Outer Banks (the OBX) of North Carolina. I visited there for the first time in 2018 and fell in love with the area. Where I live, most people head to the gulf for their beach vacations, to places like Gulf Shores, Alabama; Destin, Florida; Pensacola, Florida; and our favorite, Perdido Key, Florida. For you non-Spanish speakers, “perdido” means “lost.” Just thought I’d throw that bit of trivia in there. The Spanish teacher in me will live forever, regardless of retirement!
But the Outer Banks…oh, how I loved it! Not crowded, wide beaches, great (reasonably priced) restaurants with delicious seafood, sites like the Wright Brothers memorial, historical places like The Lost Colony, dolphin cruises, and more.
Remember I wrote that my settings must be places with which I’m familiar, not places I simply research. Also remember I’m a Tennessee gal, so I wanted to have a Tennessee connection in my novella.
This is what I devised:
When pop country singing star Holly Bellamy (known as Rachelle) can’t stand the spotlight and pressure anymore, she escapes to Duck, North Carolina, to hide out at Surf Song Inn while she tries to figure out what she wants to do with her life. Her sister/manager Jada is left in Nashville to deal with the record label while Holly, who has dyed and cut her hair short to disguise her identity, revels in the anonymity of a normal tourist.
The inn’s family atmosphere draws her to the workers there, especially Brody, the owner. As their relationship evolves from casual friendship to one of romantic promise, Holly has to make some important decisions about her future, especially after she learns of a betrayal by someone she thought was her friend as well as Brody’s own lack of honesty.
When I came up with the name of the inn, I thought it was catchy and creative because it tied in with her singing career. After I sent the book to the publisher, I thought, “I hope there’s not a real place named that.” I searched online, and lo and behold, there is a vacation rental on VRBO named Surf Song Inn. It’s not an actual inn, just a vacation rental, but what are the odds? Anyway, my novella is the fourth one in the book, and I encourage you to go to Amazon and read the blurbs about the other three.
I mentioned yesterday that I would share an excerpt from my current work in progress, but I’ve changed my mind. I will reserve that for its own blog one day next week.
I wish all of you in the U.S. a very enjoyable Thanksgiving tomorrow. Safe travels to those of you hitting the road or the air, and many thanks to those of you who have purchased any of my books. I hope they have brought you some enjoyment, and I am thankful for you. If you have the time, I’d be even more grateful if you’d write a review on Amazon!
I’ll be blogging soon as part of an online scavenger hunt involving prizes, so be on the lookout for that around Dec. 16. It involves Christmas-themed books, and at this time, I have no idea how many authors are involved, but the more authors that participate, the better the prize!
I’ll close with some photos of the Outer Banks. You may need a beach escape right now. Thanks for using your valuable time to read my blog!