INSPIRATION (and stuff like that)
I sold my very first book, One Bright Morning, in January of 1994. That was a Big Thrill. Unfortunately, even though I’ve had more than fifty books published since then, everything’s gone downhill from there.
Well… maybe not everything. There have been a few bright spots along the way. The first one came shortly after the publication of that first book, One Bright Morning, when a bookstore owner in Nebraska (whose name I’ve managed to forget) wrote to tell me she’d named her newborn palomino colt (or do you call newborn horses foals? Well, never mind) Maggie Bright, after the heroine of the book. Therefore, somewhere in Nebraska there’s now a twenty-year-old palomino horsey named Maggie Bright, and my character was the inspiration for her name. I tell you, that note made me cry. Actually, thinking about it made me teary-eyed for years.
Plod forward twenty years, and there have been some ups along the writing road, but not a whole slew of them. This may partly be because I’m the George C. Scott of writing contests and don’t believe you can truly judge the worth of one book over another unless you’re talking grammar and punctuation, word usage and imagery, and stuff like that. Besides, I write funny stuff. It’s usually dark stuff that wins awards.
Very well. Confession time here. The main reason I never enter contests is ’cause I’m poor as a church mouse and have a whole bunch of dogs to feed. One tiny bright spot in an otherwise colorless career was winning the Arizona/New Mexico Book of the Year Award (for mystery/suspense) in 2012 for Mercy Allcutt’s rousing adventure, Fallen Angels. The glow fades slightly when I admit I entered the contest because the mere thought of New Mexico as a literary state makes me chortle inside. And sometimes even outside. That, and the fact I had a few extra bucks lying around that the dogs didn’t consume in one way or another.
However, in recent months, something really quite nice happened as a direct result of my books. A woman named Julie Turjoman e-mailed me a while back to ask if I’d mind if she used a character from one of my cozy historical mystery series as a model for a hat in the book she was then writing, A Head for Trouble: What to Knit While Catching Crooks, Chasing Clues, and Solving Murders. Her book would feature knitted creations appropriate for the Roaring Twenties, when the books are set. Would I mind? Was she kidding me? Naturally, I gave her my wholehearted permission.
And you know what? She actually did it! A Head for Trouble: What to Knit While Catching Crooks, Chasing Clues, and Solving Murders is now in print, and she used Mercedes “Mercy” Louise Allcutt (from my “Angels” books, including the aforementioned Fallen Angels) as a model for the following stunning creations:
Julie was kind enough to send me a copy of her book, and it’s truly wonderful. I recommend everyone who knits (or even those who, like me, don’t) go out and buy one or two (or three or four, because, after all, we all have relatives and friends) copies. Here’s a link: http://www.julieturjoman.com/a-head-for-trouble-2/
Of course, you can find my books on-line, too, if you’re interested. They’re all on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle and/or Smashwords (if you have a Nook, Kobi, or whatever). In fact, here’s the cover art for my next Mercy book, Thanksgiving Angels, which will be published in April of 2015.
I’ll be giving away advanced reading copies (ARCs) of Thanksgiving Angels at the end of November. If you’d like to enter, just send me your name and home address at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll drop your name into my winner-picking wiener dog’s special contest doggie dish, and Bam-Bam (my winner-picking wiener dog) will select winners at month’s end.
Also, please feel free to visit my web site at www.aliceduncan.net and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925