I’m please to introduce Jackie Griffey, author of “The Devil in Merrivale.”
Jackie has stopped by Thoughts in Progress today to talk a little bit about her writing and offer a free copy of her new novel to one lucky person. She is busy this month participating in a Virtual Book Tour throughout blogdom.
Jackie, please tell us a little bit about your writing and where you get ideas.
Thoughts and ideas for novels are like teaching children. The ideas are growing and you are teaching whether you realize it or mean to or not.
Ideas won't be turned off and children are always learning. So treat them both, ideas and children, with kindness and respect.
One idea I had stayed with me for years, one I had before I even thought about writing anything. I've told it to my reading and writing group and a few others but you may find it interesting too since it's a good example of how an idea will take hold and grow.
Years (and years!) ago when my children were little we were living in East Memphis and my son was a cub scout, he was going with a friend to gather and identify local tree leaves for a project for a badge. The two of them had not been gone very long when my son ran in the kitchen door, hurried to the bathroom and threw up!
After getting him cleaned up and finding he was basically all right he told me he had seen dead people and his friend had too. He had run home and Jimmy had run in and lost his breakfast. He said the dead people were where they were going to find their leaves. I took him by the hand and went up there to see what was going on. Dead people?
By the time I got there security had been posted. A contractor who I thought must not have done his homework had got into the burial place of some of the victims of the yellow fever epidemic. Where else could they have taken them come to think of it but east? The Mississippi River is west; the military base was north; the state of Mississippi was south; it had to be east they took the poor things.
I looked over the shoulder of the security guard and saw a slender leg in a black stocking sticking straight up from a disturbed grave, the white eyelet lace around the bottom white as show. Someone's darling child, I thought.
I took my son home but I never forgot the experience. From then on everything about the era caught my attention. When I started writing, I already had a lot of information to draw on.
The novel I wrote was a historical romance-suspense and the research on it was as interesting as any novel in the library. The history of the Commercial Appeal alone would make a wonderful novel. When the Yankees took Memphis (my editor told me I have to spell Yankee with a capital LOL), the staff at the paper grabbed up their presses and ran to Grenada, Mississippi.
The Union soldiers chased them all over the south, caught up with them somewhere in Georgia and smashed their presses. The Commercial Appeal didn't go back to Memphis until the War Between the States was over and a few little weeklies sprang up to get the news out.
My novel is about three families in that era; one has one of those weekly papers; one bought into the river boat trade; and the other has the only gourmet restaurant in town.
My heroine is the daughter of the one who bought into the river boat trade and she was sent to school in England until the war was over. She comes home determined to use her education to work, love and live as she sees fit. She faces dangerous times; the need to protect her reputation; a society deaf to women; falls for the handsomest most arrogant man in town and has to keep him at arms reach while they rescue a friend accused of murder. Thereby hangs the tale... So if you have an idea that won't die - don't kill it, write it!
Thanks so much Jackie for stopping by today and sharing that interesting story. I can see why the events of your son finding dead bodies would stay with you. A great piece of history about The Commercial Appeal too.
Jackie hopes to check back during the day to answer any questions you might have for her. Meanwhile, let me tell you about her giveaway.
She is offering a free copy of “The Devil in Merrivale,” to one lucky commenter on today‘s blog. All you have to do is comment on this post between now and 8 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Jan. 9. One name will be drawn and the winner will be announced on Sunday, Jan. 10.
A follow-up note about Jackie. She likes to read as well as write cozy mysteries and romantic suspense. She and her family, two cats, a Chihuahua, and a couple of wild bunnies; live in Arkansas where she is working on another cozy mystery. You can visit her website atwww.jackiegriffey.com. You can also find Jackie's Virtual Book Tour schedule at Pump Up Your Book