Shannon here: Aspiring Women’s Fiction author, Jenny Carlisle shares insight into her current work in progress. Comment or answer either question or both to enter the drawing for a surprise book hand-picked by Jenny. Deadline: July 27th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jenny:
Identifying the Good Guys
When stories live inside you head, it is a challenge to get them onto paper in a way that holds the interest of the reader. Fiction writers are often told to “write what you know”. But if we only did that, all of our books would be autobiographies. Instead, we create a fictional world with fascinating characters and hope that their experiences, their emotions and their struggles have a ring of truth. So, how do we make sure that our handsome heroes come across very early in the book as “one of the good guys?” If the reader doesn’t know and trust him, the heroine of the story shouldn’t either!
We want our heroes to model Paul’s advice to his young friend Timothy. “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” First Timothy 6:11 KJV
My current work in progress, tentatively titled “Hope Takes the Reins” is a contemporary women’s fiction story with much of the action taking place in the arena of a family owned rodeo. The young people in this western Arkansas community are straddling the fence between the technology of the modern world and a very down to earth culture of hard work and competition.
Hope Caldwell is the middle child of her family, between a beautiful barrel racing sister and a wise-cracking rodeo clown brother. Although still a teen-ager, she has assumed many of the responsibilities of running the family’s business after the recent illness and death of her mother. Her dad, the rodeo announcer and cowboy church preacher, depends a little too much on Hope to keep the family on an even keel.
O.D. Billings, who has lived on the ranch behind the Caldwells all his life, is as tired of being the middle son as he is of his awkward name. Trying to decide whether to be called Orville or Dewayne led to using initials when he was still in elementary school. He excels as a champion calf roper, but still resents the shadows of his war hero older brother and his wild, bull-riding younger one.
Early in the story, O.D. and Hope are working together to develop a fund raiser for a local charity. On their way home from a late-night pizza and strategy session, O.D. begins to look at Hope in a different way. When her normally braided hair is allowed to fall around her shoulders and gleam in the moonlight, new sparks fly between them. O. D. is dealing with strange new feelings, but naturally draws on the way he has been raised; as a good, decent young man.
Hope notices that her long-time neighbor seems to be acting differently, but she is really not sure what to make of the change. She is one of the few who can see beneath the shiny veneer of his calf-roping performance persona to the real person inside. His new attitude toward her, along with his concern for her family both mystifies and intrigues her.
I hope that future readers will be as taken as I am by Hope and her next-door neighbor. I love that he is a little undone by his new feelings for her, and wants to tread carefully. A real good guy for sure.
If you want to stay in touch during my journey to get this story into the hands of readers, come over to my website, http://www.JennyCarlisle.com, and subscribe to my newsletter. That’s where I share the latest news while Seeking the word of God first, Waiting for Him to renew my strength, and Walking humbly with Him every day.
Thanks so much to Shannon for the opportunity to keep in touch! My goal is to build a community of people who love reading great stories, and want to give God glory for all of the good things that happen in their lives.
For one lucky person who comments on this post, I will send a very special gently used book from my personal bookshelf. After asking just a few questions, I will try to find a book that will interest you, and maybe introduce you to a new author. While I am working to get my first book published, we can get to know each other. Together, we can follow after the Lord, and his righteousness. A great pathway, to be sure!
About Jenny: Jenny McLeod Carlisle has been writing stories since she learned to hold a pencil. Growing up in a single parent home with her little sister, she filled the empty spot in her heart by writing letters to her Daddy. Her writing voice developed naturally, and if you had asked that little girl about her future plans, she would have said she wanted to write books. She studied English and journalism, but married before finishing college and helped her husband raise their three kids by working as a career State of Arkansas employee. Now that they are grown, she continues to learn the craft, and exercises her storytelling skills by writing a monthly column for Ouachita Life magazine, a free publication that reaches thousands in the southwest quadrant of Arkansas.
Recently, her website has allowed more opportunities to reach out to her community of readers. She has served in several different offices of her favorite support group, American Christian Fiction Writers – Arkansas Chapter. She also hosts meetings for Heartfelt Friends, a ministry based on the Second Chapter of Titus that allows older Christian women to become mentors to young wives and mothers. Eight grand-children in three states prompt frequent trips with her favorite travel buddy, her husband of 43 years.
About the book – Turn, Turn, Turn: Turn, Turn, Turn is Jenny’s first book. A compilation of many of her past general interest columns, it contains short articles drawn from her joyful life. Part social commentary, part nostalgic look back, it offers quick moments of smiles, with a few tears mixed in to make them real. Her fans say it reminds them of sitting in their grandmother’s lap listening to her stories. She hopes it provides comfort and encouragement while inspiring readers to tell their own stories.
Questions for Readers: Do you think old fashioned manners are out of style with today’s young people? Why or Why not? Or when starting to read a new book, what qualities do you look for in the main characters that will make you want to keep reading?
Come back July 23rd for Amy Anguish!