Monday, April 25, 2011
The Showboat Affair
Readers, please welcome Gwyneth Greer to the blog. Gwyneth graciously agreed to do a guest blog today, so Gwyneth, we'll turn things over to you.
“Where do you get your story ideas?” is a question frequently asked of writers.
Ideas pop up everywhere. A song title, a newspaper article, a picture, a trip, a glimpse of someone or something on the street, old family stories, an accidentally-overheard snatch of conversation, a dusty throw-away in a flea market, an expensive collectable in an antique store, a discarded letter or picture postcard, a memory rekindled by a taste or a scent that stirs a vague longing for something one can’t name or explain…just Life.
My newest release with The Wild Rose Press, The Showboat Affair, sprang to life during a trip to Branson, Missouri, where I enjoyed a dinner cruise and show aboard the magnificent ‘Branson Belle’. Though I had in mind to write something about ‘the showboat murders’, my friend Kathy, who engineered the trip, was horrified at anything so negative. When she suggested ‘affairs’, after some thought I decided she was right.
The idea for The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall, scheduled for release in 2012 by Champagne Books came home with me from a trip to Ft. Smith, Arkansas, (suggested by the same friend!) where the visitor center is a restored bordello! I found myself drawn to the framed pictures on the wall of one parlor, women who had plied their ‘trade’ in this spot during its long, colorful history. My heart broke for their choice—or perhaps lack of choice—and then, as I gazed into the face of one attractive young woman, I thought, “What if someone walked in here and recognized great-grandma?” Miss Fanny tells the story of someone who did just that.
As a genealogist for many years, I have turned up more information about various family lines than I ever really wanted to know. The potential for short stories and novels is staggering. My first two books, Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? and Finding Papa’s Shining Star began from the bare bones of a family incident shoved under the carpet for years. Though it evolved quite differently, the first book would never have been written without that first spark generated by a secret I wasn’t supposed to know. (Look for another similarly-inspired story to surface soon!)
Though I have a master’s degree in history, I learned far more about the past as I grew up (quite literally) at my grandfather’s knee. Born in 1873, he didn’t just know about history—he’d lived it. The tales he told me have provided more than one story idea.
Stories are everywhere. I’ll have to live to a ripe old age to write all of them!
Thank you so much for your great post. Would you tell us what your new book is about and share an excerpt with us?
I sure would! Here's a blurb for The Showboat Affair.
Despite over thirty years in a faithless marriage to wealthy investment broker Rand Kingston, Jean is shocked when he asks for a divorce. Encouraged by her former housekeeper-turned-best-friend, she determines to rediscover herself as an independent woman and move on with her life. Nick Cameron, prominent attorney and long-time widower, would like to figure in her plans. The opposition of their adult children surprises them. Then, a series of chilling near misses makes them wonder who really is determined to keep them apart—and why.
“Where were you on Saturday, Dad?” Charlie Cameron called as his father passed the open door of his office.
Nick retraced his steps and leaned against the doorframe. “Did you need me?”
“Dixie went to a shower for a friend who’s getting married, and I thought the two of us might hang out. We haven’t done that in a long time.”
“Well, I’m sorry, Charlie. I’d have enjoyed that.”
“So where were you?”
“I went with a friend to see some property and then had lunch. We did some window shopping
“Window shopping is for women, isn’t it?”
Nick cleared his throat, disgusted with himself for feeling guilty. “Actually, I was with a woman.” He didn’t have to interpret the silence that followed his remark.
“I see,” Charlie said finally. “Who?”
“Just someone I met a few weeks ago.”
“Does she have a name?”
Nick frowned. “Yes, she does, but I rather resent your third-degree, son.”
Charlie leaned across his desk. “Sorry. I didn’t mean it that way.”
“Her name is Jean Kingston.”
“Of Kingston Investments?”
“It’s her husband’s business. They’re divorcing.”
“I’ve met Rand Kingston. He’s an arrogant toad.”
“But good at what he does, I understand.”
“Very. How did you meet his wife? His future ex-wife?”
“In Greg Thorne’s office. He’s her attorney.”
“And you like her?”
“She’s very nice.”
Nick straightened up. “I don’t really think you do, but it’s not important. I’ve been alone a long time."
Gwyneth, it sounds wonderful. I know everyone will enjoy the book.