Shannon here: Women’s Fiction author Lindsey P. Brackett shares her inspiration for her debut novel, Still Waters. Comment or answer the question on any post dated Sept 8 – 12 to enter the drawing for a Kindle Copy. Deadline: Sept 16th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Lindsey:
Real Life Romance in the Lowcountry by Lindsey Brackett
When I started writing Still Waters, I knew two things: Edisto Beach would be the setting and my late maternal grandmother would inspire a character. Much of the novel contains tidbits of true Edisto history, as well as scenarios connected to my family’s history.
Years ago, my mama offhandedly told me the story of how my grandparents met. My grandmother, Alice, had gotten herself lost driving around the back country roads of Colleton County in Lowcountry South Carolina. My granddaddy, Travis Malcolm (she called him Tom), had just come home from the war and he became a Forester with the South Carolina Forestry Commission. He was out planting when she stopped and asked for directions back to Walterboro. The rest, as they say, is history.
Walterboro, South Carolina is where they eventually made their final home. A short drive down the highway is Edisto Beach, where they spent weeks in the late summer after finishing the tobacco harvest.
Years ago, after they cleaned out the house, my mother and her sister came across bundles of letters. Written by my grandmother to her mother, they tell the story of the hardships of early marriage in the early fifties, when babies and diapers and working the tobacco fields consumed their life. At her heart, I believe my grandmother, who went on to teach school, was a writer. One of my future projects includes a novel based on the grandparent characters in Still Waters—but it will really be my grandparents’ love story and tie in themes still relevant to women today, such as how do you balance family and career?
Somehow my grandmother did. She raised three children and loved gardening and cooking and aggravating my grandfather while he watched baseball in the old recliner. When she died suddenly in 1990, he sat all the grandchildren down in the living room and told us what it meant to lose someone. What the circle of life—and the promise of eternal life—really are. I’ve never forgotten his gaunt cheeks and haunted eyes. He was simply lost without her.
Now, by writing just a bit of their story into my own, I like to believe I’m keeping their legacy alive. After all, as Tennessee tells Cora Anne, “I don’t believe in ghosts, Cor. But I do believe in the mighty power of God’s love. Who knows? Maybe He does usher us home with a reminder of the good gifts he gave us here.”
Still Waters excerpt, inspired by the love story of Tom and Alice Beeson:
She was lost on Edisto Island. The narrow dirt road she’d mistaken for her turn took her past fields of corn and tomatoes. Then both sides of the road closed in and skinny pines towered overhead and shadowed the sky.
Ahead, the young man tossing bundles of pine straw into the back of a Ford pickup looked harmless. He paused his work when she stopped the car, and to her amusement eyed her warily when she emerged.
Apparently she wasn’t the only one with stranger anxiety. She flipped her hair over her shoulder and gave him the smile she’d learned could get her the world.
“I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I think I’m lost.”
He leaned against the dusty truck and nodded. “Sure thing, m’am. Where were you headed?”
“Cooper Creek Plantation. I’m supposed to meet my—someone.” The word fiancée had suddenly choked in her throat. She swallowed and glanced away from this man’s piercing stare. Butterflies danced in her belly.
“Well, m’am, you’re a little turned around. I could lead you there, if you’d like.”
“That’d be wonderful, Mr…” Her voice trailed off, and he filled in his name.
“Coultrie. Thornton Coultrie.” He pulled off his worn leather glove and held out his hand. “But most folks call me TC.”
They shook, his grip firm but gentle. Warmth spread through her fingertips and tingled up her arm.
She locked her blue eyes on his hazel ones and smiled. “Anne Jenkins, but most folks call me Annie.”
“Jenkins, huh? That’s an old Island name.” He tossed his head and held her hand. “Fact is their old plantation, Brick House, is just down the road. I could take you there, too, if you’d like to see it. Even as a ruin it’s one of the prettiest sights on the island.”
The flutters in her stomach churned. What was she doing? She pulled her hand away. “Thank you, but I best be getting on. My … friend will be worried.”
“You aren’t a bit curious about a piece of your past?” A smile quirked at the corner of his mouth, and she fought against smiling back. Instead she delivered the words she’d taught herself to believe.
“Mr. Coultrie, I’m not so much concerned about where I came from, as where I’m going.”
“Well,” he drawled, cocking back his straw hat. “You never know. May be we’re headed in the same direction.”
About Lindsey: Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Magazine, Spark Magazine, and Southern Writers Magazine.
In both 2015 and 2017, she placed in the top ten for Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction. Previously, Lindsey served as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and currently she is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.
Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.” A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Still Waters: Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests — and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.
Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness — especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.
When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her — and Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Get you copy now: Still Waters – Amazon
Question for Readers: Whose love story inspires you?
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