Being a part of blogdom has introduced me to a number of ‘new-to-me’ authors and getting to know those authors is an added delight. That’s why it’s with great pleasure I welcome author Bobbi Groover here today for a conversation about her writing.
In getting to know Bobbi, I learned that we share a love of horses and they play a role in both our lives. First Bobbi share a bit of her background with us, then offers a gracious giveaway before discussing her writing.
My early years were spent in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Many of my relatives still live there so I visit often. However, the years of my youth that I hold dear were spent in the Poconos. My father was the town doctor and gentleman farmer. I had a whole mountain to wander. The neighboring property was a working farm complete with cows, pigs, chickens and acres of corn. We even had a twenty-two-person party telephone line. In fact, the farm was in such a rural setting that while the rest of the world had push button phones, our phone was a large wooden box with a crank! (I still have the phone and my son wired it to answer calls!)
I learned to milk cows, plow fields, churn butter and shoot straight. I was proficient at it, too. I could shatter 19 clay pigeons out of 20 with a .410 shotgun. Life was good then and continued to get better. I returned to Philadelphia to earn my MS from the University of Pennsylvania. I share my life with my husband, two sons and all sorts of four-legged critters. Yes, I again live in the suburbs, but every morning I escape to a large farm to ride my horses through the cornfields. The quiet time allows me to wander and imagine myself in the nineteenth century (my favorite setting).
Thanks to Bobbi, she is offering one signed print copy of THE INN AT LITTLE BEND, one ebook copy of SEASON OF THE SHADOW, and one signed print copy of FUN IN THE YELLOW PAGES. The print copy giveaways are open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, while the ebook copy is offered global. To enter the giveaways, be sure to comment on this post between now and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, and leave your e-mail address if it’s not included in your profile. If you’d like to win a certain book, just mention it in your comments.
Now, I’ve asked Bobbi to talk about her writing.
As a third generation equestrian I ride, train and hunt my three darling horses. I use many of the antics of these rapscallions in my storylines. Their unique personalities make me laugh, as I’m sure the horses belonging to my ancestors made them laugh through many generations. (My family put down roots in this country in the mid sixteenth hundreds.) I proudly lay claim to the blood of Lenape Native Americans from whom I probably inherited my love of horses and wide, open spaces.
It was my love of the land that inspired my first novel, FUN IN THE YELLOW PAGES. I wanted my boys to know the ‘fun’ of living in the country so I wrote FUN to read to them at night. FUN is a vacation adventure filled with humor, horses, and the complexities of family relationships. To my delight, FUN was recognized and utilized in several school district curriculums in their Language Arts programs and I was invited to speak as ‘visiting author.’
I have been writing stories since I could first compose sentences. One of my first stories is still in a cluttered drawer, composed when I was five. Many of my short stories and poems were published in periodicals over the years but after the success of FUN, I was drawn to novels. I’m an insomniac and an avid reader of romance so when my husband dared me to actually write a romance, I took up the challenge.
As I said before, the period of antebellum America has always fascinated me. However, researching those years as an adult yielded information so different from the war years I learned as a teenager. I’ve even visited and walked the battlefields to immerse myself in the period. One night as I sat at dinner, a song popped into my head as well as a prologue. I penned a basic outline, timeline and several scenes of what would become SEASON OF THE SHADOW. The characters had no names—just he/she because I have to really come to know my characters before I can name them. Most of the time I followed the outline but sometimes—even nameless—the characters took on lives of their own, and I followed their lead.
During several 3 AM writing marathons, my characters took me to many interesting places. Every writer has their own unique writing schedule but my schedule follows one basic rule: scribble madly when the ideas flow, and let the computer sit idle when words don’t come because, for me, forced words have no passion and no heart. A quirky technique I use when I write is to search the stock photos of the Internet for images of what I imagine are the physical characteristics of my hero and heroine. Their pictures sit in frames on my desk. When I am in the hero’s head, I ‘talk’ to the picture of the heroine. I ‘talk’ to the hero’s picture when I am the heroine. This helps me keep the POV even and flowing.
Any distinctive physical characteristics of the two are also detailed in the pictures. Surprising how blue eyes can become green or a scar on one cheek can land on the other by the end of the story! Seven months later I was stunned—five hundred four pages—and the best seven months of new ‘friends.’ I was depressed when the story finished because the hero and heroine had become such a part of my everyday life. Their framed pictures hung on the walls of my studio and I smiled as I passed them. Even after SEASON won Honorable Mention in the New York Beach Book Festival, I returned to freelance writing and wrote for a monthly magazine while I devoted my days to my boys and the daily joys of parenting.
I’ve been asked what inspired my latest romance, THE INN AT LITTLE BEND. To be truthful about what motivated me to return to my studio, I will have to get a bit personal. During a very painful time (within a six month period) in my life I lost my father, my horse and my best friend. Those who know me well saw the toll their deaths were taking on me. I had lost three confidants (horses are great listeners with their big, bewhiskered lips kissing your neck) and so the outlets for my grief were gone. I felt abandoned. For someone who is a bit of a control freak, life spiraling out of control without the power to control it, is a horror. I withdrew (literally) and ran away (figuratively)…back to 1850…back to a world I could control. I ran back to where I was omnipotent and could make Fate bend to my will. I now had my plot and my characters. My abandonment was Grayson’s, my grief was Drake’s. When they found their way through their trials, I found my way through mine. As in all HEA romances, my characters healed and so did I. THE INN AT LITTLE BEND wrote itself. Here’s a short blurb:
In antebellum America, life for an abandoned woman was difficult at best. But when young Grayson escapes her sadistic guardian, she finds freedom just as hostile. Grayson Ridge struggles to survive her fated trials and conceal the secrets that plague her. And so begins a turbulent journey that spans two decades and chronicles the exploits of the lonesome, starving wanderer. Her adventures collide with the life of Drake Somerset, a sullen and uncommunicative drifter who wants nothing to do with her. While at first using him for her own safety, his dark, mysterious magnetism draws her and binds her to him—in a clearing, in a heartbeat and in love.
I think readers will relate to Gray because she has spunk and the ability to give as good as she gets, yet never loses her sweetness. Drake, on the other hand is a gruff surly drifter, but when the reader spies the pain and love he has hidden under his tortured exterior, I believe they’ll be hooked. Their pictures now hang next to Fletcher and Kyndee’s (SEASON) on the walls of my studio.
I was also posed the question as to what is the best/worst thing about writing. For me, the best thing about writing is that I am omnipotent. I am a master painter. My story is my canvas but I paint with words. Just like a picture is a thousand words so the words of my story create a thousand pictures conveying the darkness and the light, the trials and the joys of my characters. I can lose myself in another time and place; I can make my characters do or be anything I want; I can escape into any time I want; I can be there for as long as I want.
What is the worst thing about writing? The last 10 words of the ‘best’ part. I can never be in that other world as long as I want because life always seems to intrude—dinners, laundry, car pools, grocery shopping etc. Often I am so immersed in that other world, that I actually resent being pulled back. Sometimes there is an advantage to being an insomniac. The dark quiet hours of the night give me the solace I need! Just in time, too, because a new song, new scenes and new characters are bouncing in my head.
Kyndee and Fletcher (SEASON), along with Grayson and Drake (THE INN) have joined forces with a new hero and heroine in my upcoming romance, INTO THE GREY. In the ongoing saga, years have passed and the South has now fired on Fort Sumter. The six friends are reluctantly embroiled in the hostilities of the Civil War. My latest research will all come into play. Here’s a short blurb of INTO THE GREY:
Brayden Wakefield is quickly losing faith that hostilities between the Northern and Southern states will end peaceably. He and his neighbors, Fletcher Stedman and Royce Carlyle, seem to be in the minority in their belief that a war would not end in a few months. They know any clash would be long and brutal. But their loyalty to one another supplants their reluctance, and they are drawn into the politics and atrocities of the Civil War to save their kidnapped comrade, Caleb Jenkins. Nothing is as it seems, however. Together with Caleb's strong-willed wife, Sage, the plantation owners turned raiders squirrel behind enemy lines. Brayden uncovers lies and intrigue on both sides but as he and his fellow raiders execute their audacious plan, as they torch the layers of the conspiracy, Brayden finds love hidden among the ashes.
As a side note: although several of the characters appear in both SEASON and THE INN as well as INTO THE GREY, each story is complete and stands on its own. The books need not be read in any particular order.
Thank you for allowing me to share my books and my thoughts with you today. It’s been great fun. I’m complimented and humbled to share time with so many interesting, talented and prolific authors.
Bobbi, thank you so much for guest blogging today. It’s a joy learning more about how authors create their characters and stories. Having photos for your characters is an interesting element.
For more information and trivia insights on any of Bobbi’s books, poetry or articles, visit her website at www.Bobbiscorner.com. She can also be reached by e-mail at Bobbi@Bobbiscorner.com.
All of her books are available in print and ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. SEASON OF THE SHADOW is also available in audio book upon request. THE INN AT LITTLE BEND and FUN IN THE YELLOW PAGES will be available in audio book soon.
Here are book trailers for 2 of her books for your enjoyment. The first is for SEASON OF THE SHADOW and the second is for THE INN AT LITTLE BEND.
If you’re a reader, do you enjoy stories that written about antebellum America? As a writer, do you use photos to help with creating a story? Share your thoughts on Bobbi’s conversation and enter to one of 3 giveaways she’s offering. Thanks so much for stopping by today.