And now, welcome to Heather!
The Idea that Wouldn't Let Go
Inspiration for Miranda Warning
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Anne! I appreciate it so much!
Today is release day for my very first mystery novel, Miranda Warning. This is the first book in A Murder in the Mountains series. I just wanted to share a little background on how this book came to be.
Long ago, when my three children were mere toddlers, I wanted to write a book. I started writing said book. The main character's name was Tess Spencer, and she was married to a guy named Thomas (in an homage to Agatha Christie's knockout duo, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford). In this book, Tess had two children. She got involved in a mystery involving a woman named Rose.
I had only gotten about the first ten chapters written, and I decided to let my husband take a peek. His reaction when I told him how the book would end? "You have a nice start to this story, but that's not all of it."
Author reaction: Flaming. Outrage. Inability to continue writing said book. Giving up on writing books till about six years later. At that point, I had no ability to take a critique.
Fast forward to about nine years later. I'd written a book, and I wanted to write another book while the first one (God's Daughter, my Viking historical), was out on submission. So I sat down that winter and Tess sauntered back into my head. In this book, Tess is still married to Thomas, but she's newly pregnant; no kiddos yet. She's also pulled into a mystery with a dead woman named Rose.
This time, the book unfolded for me. The more I got into it, the more I realized the things I thought were going to happen did not. The characters I thought were key were not. The villain was not who I thought it was. In other words, I finally fully developed that story, just like my husband had told me I could.
I have a thicker skin now and can take well-meant critiques. I've had to accept numerous rejections. I'm learning how to take harsh reviews, too.
But my husband still isn't an early reader for my books! I value his opinion too highly and as an author, if he dislikes something, it just torpedoes my desire to finish the book. But I realize he doesn't represent my normal reader demographic. He's actually a big non-fiction and Louis L'amour/western fan.
I'm thankful God brought Tess back to me. Nowadays, I've noticed my author-plotting brain is working overtime, collecting details about locations and people (the series is set in contemporary West Virginia—where I live now). I can't wait to write the next book in this series: Trial by Twelve. Most of all, I'm so glad that even though I briefly let go of that mystery-writing idea, the idea never let go of me.
HEATHER DAY GILBERT enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Seventeen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as eleven years spent homeschooling. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.
You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert--Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Audible.com. Her Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, releases today, June 20th, on Amazon. You can find an excerpt of the first chapters here on Scribd.