Writing About Places I love

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Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island

Last month I finished writing my first novel. It took about two and a half years. I didn’t get working on it in earnest until about a year ago. I intended it to be a romance novel, but it ended up falling more into the Women’s Fiction category because I kept adding different facets to Caitlyn’s life. She grew her own sewing business and took on an exchange student (my art imitates my life). Here’s my three paragraph blurb on it:

Twenty-seven-year-old Caitlyn McIntyre is one year out of a bad marriage, two weeks late on rent for her crappy apartment, and three days from losing her job.

The redhead from Vermont thought she’d gotten past the tragedies in her life when she escaped to beautiful Saint Simons after her divorce. But Caitlyn’s curls, piled into a tangled frizz in the oppressive Georgia heat, are as unmanageable as her life as she finds herself facing not only unemployment, but also having to give up the life she’d fought hard to establish. Her fears are allayed when Nick, a real estate developer on Saint Simons Island, is in sudden need of a nanny for his autistic son. But the chemistry between Caitlyn and Nick adds to Caitlyn’s problems, especially when the rumors of Nick being a womanizer appear to be true. Over the course of two years, Caitlyn takes on an anxious preschooler, a foreign exchange student, the entitlement of the wealthy, and her growing attraction to her boss.

Pins and Needles is an uplifting and often humorous novel about the paths women often must take to find their identity and build a life they’re proud of. Caitlyn is a relatable heroine who is witty, well-intentioned, and her own worst enemy. Readers will enjoy the strong thread of romance that runs throughout the book.

I loosely based the character of Aidan, the autistic child, on the way my son was at four. At first I felt guilty about that, like maybe I was exploiting my child, but I decided that was silly. I think my son is the most wonderful boy in the whole world, and that comes across in the story. Now I feel guilty about not having based a character on my larger-than-life little daughter. I set the story in St. Simons, Georgia. I live in Massachusetts with my family, but my hubby has relatives in Georgia that we’ve been visiting about three times a year for the past nine years. I make sure we spend a day or two at St. Simons or it’s neighboring island, Jekyll, each visit. I’ve done a fair bit of traveling, but those two islands are the places I long for most. I spend way too much time online looking at real estate and dreaming of buying a vacation home there. Here’s a pic of my beautiful little boy during his first trip to St. Simons:

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I’m contacting agents and publishers, trying to get GINGERLY published, and in the meantime I’ve been working on my next novel. It’s set in another place I love, Saint Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire. It’s where my husband and I went on our second date, when I was living in Orford, NH and he was living in Greenfield, MA. It was a great place to meet in the middle. We snuck in after closing time and looked at sculptures in the dim evening light. That was when I knew we were going to get married one day.

 

 

I’ve taken our kids and friends there half a dozen times. There are beautiful trails on the property. In the sunshine, the place is absolutely gorgeous, but in the gloom, it is delightfully spooky. My current story is about a missing hiker last seen at St. Gaudens, her incredibly hot (of course!) older brother, and a a lonely young art snob who was abandoned by her father and raised by a meth addict in nearby Claremont. I’m about eighty-six pages in, and I already plan to rewrite half of it. I’ve booked my trusty editor, Christa Soule, for the month of June, so I have five months to get my shizz together and write that thing. I work best under pressure, so I try to give myself lots of it.

 

 

Here are a couple more pics of St. Gaudens. Now I have to run and pick up my kids from school. Catch you later!