Hello readers! Today I have a treat for you! Linda Cunningham author of Small Town Girl is going to tell us her process for writing the book!
The Process Behind “Small Town Girl”
The evolution for “Small Town Girl” started out innocuous enough. I had trouble with my furnace one day. I was getting no help from the fuel company, which was supposed to provide regular service for the furnace and keep it going. I wasn’t surprised. The fuel company was only the local branch of a huge conglomerate, based in New Jersey – a long way away from Vermont. Winter was coming and I was determined not to get stuck with no heat in the middle of January in the north country. I decided then and there to switch fuel oil companies.
I called a local full service company. Plumbing and heating, heating and cooling system installation and repair. Twenty-four hour service. The owner came out to meet me, see the house, and look at the furnace. We instantly developed a friendship. He was somewhere around 40, a little younger than I was, but his enthusiasm for his company and his profession were engaging. On top of that, and I’ll be honest here, he was gorgeous. There was also an innate honesty and a simplicity of character about him that was refreshing. He was dedicated, responsible, and accommodating. He made an impression on me, and still does.
I thought a lot about my plumber friend and how rare it was to meet a person these days who lived in the same little town he was born in, in a rural part of the country, and had succeeded in building a prosperous business. He also knew all his clients and contributed to his community as a volunteer fireman and snowboard coach.
It is from this friendship that “Small Town Girl” developed. I kept thinking, “What a lesson this person represents.” He is a person who lives a full, happy, and productive life within a small physical radius, but he’s not bored, he’s not neurotic, he’s not angsting about the things he doesn’t have. What woman wouldn’t want somebody like that as a life partner? That’s how the story began.
What woman wouldn’t want somebody like him as a life partner? I decided to find out. I approached the whole thing through the woman’s point of view. Lauren is a pretty normal young lady, well educated, good at her job, a little cocky. She’s drawn to the city by the thought of the “success” she might find there. Okay, so what’s success? Lauren, in her naivete, got it wrong the first time. Lots of us do. Maturing takes some time and thought and not a little work (kind of like writing a book). Lauren had all the pieces of success taken care of. She had the social savvy, the drive, the knowledge to maneuver herself into a powerful position. The only thing she ignored along the way was herself.
With this premise in mind, the book largely wrote itself. I naturally wove in a lot of my own experiences and observations into the story. I felt myself really becoming involved in Lauren’s emotional growth. The love scenes between Lauren and Caleb were actually pretty easy to write. They were just magnetically attracted to eachother. The harder part was discovering, and getting down in print, how that physical attraction developed, how Lauren confronted her confusion, how she began to value and recognize the people around her as individuals and not necessarily as extensions of her own wishes, and how this growth finally bloomed, enabling her to break free of her self-imposed boundaries and to fall truly in love with her emotional, physical, and intellectual equal.
The progress of the book was sporadic. Some days I would write for hours. Words poured out of me. Other times, especially when I had to link one scene, one incident, to another, I would sit in front of the computer screen waiting for something to happen. Finally, the ball rolled smoothly along. The story was clear and I brought it to fruition.
“Small Town Girl” took about six months to write. I edited heavily along the way, sometimes going over the same passages for a couple of days at a time, until they finally rang true to me. Truth is something very important to me when I’m writing. Every story establishes its own truth along the way. Every story has to be true to itself. It has to make sense and not be contrived. Even fantasy and science fiction must stay within the boundaries of its own truth. After that it’s an almost mechanical matter of taking that initial idea, forming it into a story, the story into an outline, and that outline into the book.
So, not only does my handsome plumber fix my furnace, supply me with heating oil, hook up my generator when the power goes off, but he also unwittingly inspired the character of Caleb Cochran, and launched my career as an author.
Also if you comment on every blog in the tour you can enter to win a print copy of Small Town Girl and a Tote bag (enter at last stop. Ends December 20th)
Linda has written steadily throughout the years, but usually other people’s papers, speeches, or articles for agricultural trade magazines. Her only published work of fiction was a children’s book, “The Copper Angel of Piper’s Mill”, written in 1988 when her children were still small. Now that the kids are out of the house, Linda is writing fiction again, and this time it’s personal! She writes full time and it’s Romance! Her first romance novel, “Small Town Girl” is being published by Omnific Publishing and should be available late summer/early fall of this year.
Linda lives in a romantic stone house in the green mountains of Vermont surrounded by her gardens and her animals who include horses, sheep, cats, dogs, chickens, a parakeet and various wildlife visitors who wander in and out at will. When time permits, she also enjoys sketching and painting.
Where to find Linda: http://www.lindawcunningham.com/