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Q: Why, oh why, did you leave Daisy twisting in the wind like that? Curse you! May you burn in hell! (But after you write Daisy’s story.)
A: WARNING. There are bound to be a few spoilers in my reply. If spoilers bother you, please don’t read! If you don’t mind the spoilers, roll your mouse over the hidden parts of the reply to highlight and reveal the text (I’ve written it in white font).
Oh, Daisy. When will you learn? We’ve been following you since you were a troubled child of divorce in Summer at Willow Lake, a pregnant teen in The Winter Lodge, leaving home in Dockside, a college student in Snowfall at Willow Lake, a career girl in Fireside and a busy single mom in Lakeshore Christmas.
And all we’ve ever wanted was for you to find your happily-ever-after.
You keep being pulled back and forth between Logan, the handsome, well-born father of your child, and Julian, the dangerous but adoring adrenalin junkie in search of adventure.
And now this! Somebody’s about to pop the question and we don’t even get to know which one, or what your answer is!
Argh! I could kill you dead right now!
There is no way everyone is going to love everything that happens to a character in a book. I just hope I can be true and fair to the characters and storylines I’ve set up.
It’s true that there is a major, major unanswered question at the end of Lakeshore Christmas. Daisy finds herself in quite a pickle. A delicious pickle.
The good news is, somebody wants to marry her.
The bad news is, we don’t quite know which somebody.
Do I know who dropped the d-bomb on the train platform? Yes.
Is it who you think it is? Probably not.
Disclaimer: Even though I do know how this is going to go down, I haven’t finished Daisy’s book yet, so it’s subject to change. Sometimes a story goes off in its own direction and I have no choice but to follow.
I have a title I really like: Daisy+Logan+Julian which doesn’t really give anything away. It’s a working title and my publisher tends to change them so I’m not holding my breath.
One thing I can promise: The book will be Lakeshore #8 (after the March 2010 release of The Summer Hideaway).

It’s Frustrated Reader time in my in-box. Definitely the most frequently asked question is this:

Q: Why, oh why, did you leave Daisy twisting in the wind at the end of Lakeshore Christmas? Curse you! May you burn in hell! (But after you finish Daisy’s story.)

A: WARNING. There are bound to be a few spoilers in my reply. If spoilers bother you, please don’t read! If you don’t mind the spoilers, hold down the mouse button and roll over the hidden parts of the reply to highlight and reveal the text (I’ve written it in white font).

Oh, Daisy. When will you learn? We’ve been following you since you were a troubled child of divorce in Summer at Willow Lake, a pregnant teen in The Winter Lodge, leaving home in Dockside, a college student in Snowfall at Willow Lake, a career girl in Fireside and a busy single mom in Lakeshore Christmas.

And all we’ve ever wanted was for you to find your happily-ever-after.

You keep being pulled back and forth between Logan, the handsome, well-born father of your child, and Julian, the dangerous but adoring adrenalin junkie in search of adventure.

gettyimages.com

gettyimages.com

And now this! Somebody’s about to pop the question and we don’t even get to know which one, or what your answer is!

Argh! I could kill you dead right now!

There is no way everyone is going to love everything that happens to a character in a book. I just hope I can be true and fair to the characters and storylines I’ve set up.

It’s true that there is a major, major unanswered question at the end of Lakeshore Christmas. Daisy finds herself in quite a pickle. A delicious pickle.

The good news is, somebody wants to marry her.

The bad news is, we don’t quite know which somebody.

Do I know who dropped the d-bomb on the train platform? Yes.

Is it who you think it is? Probably not.

Disclaimer: Even though I do know how this is going to go down, Daisy’s book is full of surprises. As the story unfolded from my imagination, the twists and turns surprised even me. Sometimes a story goes off in its own direction and I have no choice but to follow.

I had a title I really like: Daisy+Logan+Julian which doesn’t really give anything away. It’s a working title and my publisher tends to change them so didn’t hold my breath. Ultimately, the perfect title emerged from lengthy discussions with my editor and agent: Marrying Daisy Bellamy.

One thing I can promise: There is an enticing excerpt from Lakeshore #11 in the back of the new edition of Daisy. Please enjoy the exclusive preview of Starlight on Willow Lake.

One of the questions I get most frequently is “How many books are in the Lakeshore Chronicles series? In what order should I read them?”

Brrr!

Today’s plan: Stay inside where it’s warm and curl up with a good book.

You can read the books in any order because each book is a complete novel unto itself, but if you want to go chronologically (and if you’re a fan of the Daisy Bellamy storyline, I recommend this), it’s

1. Summer at Willow Lake
       (a) “Homecoming Season” (a novella in the anthology MORE THAN WORDS: STORIES OF COURAGE)
2. The Winter Lodge
3. Dockside
4. Snowfall at Willow Lake
5. Fireside 
6. Lakeshore Christmas
7. The Summer Hideaway 
8. Marrying Daisy Bellamy 
9. Return to Willow Lake
10. Candlelight Christmas
11. Starlight on Willow Lake

How many Lakeshore books will there be? Well, here’s a hint:

Wheelchairs on Willow Lake cartoon

(This glimpse into the future comes to you courtesy of the multitalented Suzanne Selfors.)

torn between two lovers...

torn between two lovers...

Those of you who have been reading the Lakeshore Chronicles have met Daisy in every book, but her whole story hasn’t been told…until tomorrow, the official pub date of MARRYING DAISY BELLAMY. It’s a very cool story, if I do say so myself.

In Lakeshore Christmas (2009), her story progresses, but again it’s only a secondary plot, so we don’t get to dig too deep.

Daisy’s juggling single motherhood, school and career. And because this is a Wiggs book, she is looking for love. Her dilemma? Does she want to find it with Logan, the father of her child? Or with Julian, the sexy adrenalin junkie who first captivated her when they were in high school?

MY dilemma in Lakeshore Christmas was how far to take the storyline. I can’t reveal who she chooses, but I needed to play fair with the reader. It was tricky. What do you think? Should she choose Logan? Julian? Or what about Zach, the steadfast best friend? Or someone brand new and unexpected?

Well, Daisy made her choice, but it wasn’t easy. Early reviews are good, bless you reviewers, and most of them non-spoilerish.

LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS has arrived. First time in paperback. Yay! I’m so excited. Thanks to Pam for the field report from Susanville CA:

A sneak peek at Lakeshore Christmas. Maureen Davenport and Eddie Haven are bringing sexy back to the library.

Bake some cookies. Save the library. Save the world.

Bake some cookies. Save the library. Save the world.

Click the link for a great recipe:

09_283_Postcard_Lakeshore

Next time I have the noive to complain about my job, I hope you will remind me of days like this:

having a serious talk with my editor about the fate of Daisy Bellamy

having a serious talk with my editor about the fate of Daisy Bellamy

Coffee on the patio with my editor while her children (including the large one known as a “husband”) are swimming, beachcoming, hiking, biking, harrassing the dog, building fires, eating smores and practicing general mayhem. Later, they will be treated to a scenic flight from our beach to Snoqualmie Falls, Bill Gates’s house and interesting places in between.

We were having some big ideas, along with the French Roast and smoked salmon.

Some days there is more to writing than W-R-I-T-I-N-G.

The very generous and enterprising TJ Bennett is giving away totes and baskets full of RITA -nominated books and audios. You can enter by posting a comment on her blog here. My contribution is below.  Also note the question at the bottom of this post. Need your input!

[Ed. note (from TJ): We continue our RITA® giveaway with our final tote bag. Be sure to leave your comments on the posts for a chance to win. One tote per winner will be awarded, but you can comment on any post throughout the contest period, which ends July 18, 2009. Remember this week, there are four totes up for grabs: #7, 8, 9, and 10.]

Susan Wiggs, Snowfall at Willow Lake
[NOTE: Book in tote is audio (MP3-CD) version]
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Single Title Romance 

“Every writer I know started out as a reader. She was like me–voracious, insatiable, reading anything and everything she could get her hands on. Eventually she fell in love with genre fiction, and found a special affinity with romance novels. Like me, she probably cut her teeth on the big, juicy historicals of Kathleen Woodiwiss, Laurie McBain, Jennifer Wilde, Laura London. She stayed up late with A Woman of Substance, fantasized along with Princess Daisy and wept over The Thornbirds. She dreamed of Turtle MoonHoney Moon and Carolina Moon. She developed a taste for Like Water for Chocolate and maybe even started her own knitting and reading club. All this reading made her a better writer, and an incredibly savvy reader. Along the way, she joined RWA® and volunteered to judge the RITA®.

That’s why being a finalist is such an incredible honor. The judges are the pickiest readers in the world, and this year, they picked Snowfall at Willow Lake. This was extra-special for me because of the content of the book. Sophie Bellamy, the main character, was one of the most reviled and misunderstood protagonists I’ve ever created–chilly, competitive, deeply self-absorbed, a woman who had the audacity to be unhappy in her marriage–and to finally do something about it. Her journey from the international courts of The Hague to the storybook shores of Willow Lake was more than a plot, it was a quest for redemption. Landing in the finals was an affirmation that her journey was a success.

The competition is incredibly tough; I know, I’m always reading and I read a ton of terrific novels last year. So I’m deeply grateful and honored to be a finalist this year. I’m also thrilled to be slogging it out with some of my favorite writers for the final prize, the Queen of All Knickknacks. Because as soon as the list of finalists came out, I read all the others and was wildly entertained for days! There’s a reason the RITA® is the gold standard of prizes in our genre. I’m proud to be in the game. To read more about Snowfall at Willow Lake, and to find out more than even my husband knows about me, please check out my web site at http://www.susanwiggs.com and blog at http://www.susanwiggs.wordpress.com.”

About Snowfall at Willow Lake:

Can a single moment change your entire life?

International lawyer Sophie Bellamy has dedicated her life to helping people in war-torn countries. But when she survives a hostage situation, she remembers what matters most—the children she loves back home. Haunted by regrets, she returns to the idyllic Catskills village of Avalon on the shores of Willow Lake, determined to repair the bonds with her family.

There Sophie discovers the surprising rewards of small-town life—including an unexpected passion for Noah Shepherd, the local veterinarian. Noah has a healing touch for anything with four legs, but he’s never had any luck with women—until Sophie.

Snowfall at Willow Lake speaks from the heart about all the loves that fill a woman’s life, and all the ways that love is tested and made to grow. It’s the story of what comes after a woman survives an unspeakable horror and finds her way home, to healing and redemption and a new chance at happiness.

********

I need your advice! Last year I “won” a pair of Camper Twins when I didn’t bag the RITA. Should I fail to bring home the Queen of All Knicknacks this year, what should my consolation prize be? (I have an idea or two…)

Here is the final tweaked version. Coming to bookstores everywhere September 26.

Lakeshore Christmas jacket

Oh, and our good buddy Dan has a new book coming out, too, in case you haven’t heard. They’ve unveiled his cover today, too:

Lost%20Symbol%20cover.jpg

Whatcha think?

Angel Franco/New York Times

Angel Franco/New York Times

I’m feeling relevant today. As some of you might remember, I got in big trouble for a major plotline in Fireside–the one about a Latino boy whose mother’s immigration status is uncertain. Regardless of my Amazon one-star-bomber’s opinion, such situations do exist in this country. For some, it’s a prison. A limbo. This installment in the New York Times’s series talks about families of mixed status.

It’s bound to infuriate some readers, frustrate others and sadden most of us. The storyline worked out in my novel. In real life, it’s more of a mess.

It’s been so much fun talking with Deborah Bouziden all month! Our interview will be published in its entirety later this year–without all the asides to show you pictures of Barkis or music videos–so stay tuned for updated links. Here’s the final bit:

early writings ... SW at age 4

early writings ... SW at age 4

DB: When you finish a project, what do you do to reward yourself?

SW: A vacation, a shopping spree, a reading marathon, a ski trip, a dog walk, the ritual cleaning of my study. Plow through a queue of 176 unread e-mail messages. Long, long phone calls to my mom, my sister and my long-distance friends. When I finished Lakeshore Christmas, I went on a ten-mile hike with my dog and my best friend.

DB: You’ve written so many books, how do you feed your muse?

SW: Listen to music. Read. Go to performances. Travel. Stay connected. Cherish your friends who remind you what life–and therefore your books–are about.

DB: What is your favorite thing about book signings?

SW: Shopping for the clothes, planning the travel and meeting the bookseller and the few readers who trickle in. Not so favorite thing? The fact that only a few readers trickle in. I have a theory about this. My readers are readers. They want stories, not the author’s signature. I’m fine with this. There are definitely writers who are a draw at signings, but I’m not one of them.

DB: Book signing nightmare or strangest thing to happen to you?

SW: A guy I thought I was in love with in college showed up at a signing in a far-off city and said, “I still think about you.”

DB: The romance industry has seen many sweeping changes through the years. Do you think they are for the best or detrimental to our industry? What future do you see for the romance industry?

SW: I’m sorry to see writers exploited by vanity presses that make their money by charging the writer. And (okay, this will get me in trouble but I’ll say it anyway) e-publishing doesn’t interest me as a writer–I simply haven’t seen proof of it as a viable commercial vehicle, and I’m a commercial writer who thrives on having readers. Lots and lots of readers. But overall, the future for the industry is bright. Readers crave stories and always will, so the storytellers are safe.

DB: Tell me a bit about your latest project. What is it about? When will it be released?

SW: I just finished Lakeshore Christmas, a hardcover coming in October 2009. It’s a nostalgic, magical love story about the town librarian charged with directing the annual Christmas pageant. Against her will, she is paired up with a bad-boy rocker who’s been court-ordered to help her with the music. After that I”ll be working on The Summer Hideaway, which was known as Lakeshore #7 until I came up with a title.

DB: And now the last and probably most important question of all—do you still keep a bowl of M&M’s on your desk? If not, what happened to get them banned? If you still have them, what kind is your favorite?

SW: What happened to get them banned? Middle age! Where is my girlish figure?! I had to trade the M&Ms for pistachios. I need more protein and fewer carbs. Actually, I need a nip and tuck but I’m chicken.

DB: I counted 43 published books. Is that correct? I think I may be missing a few.

SW: I stopped counting after 30. It was making me feel old. Or like I should be better than I am after all that experience. The truth is, every book feels like a first book to me. I never get over the hurdles easily. Then again, I never get over the excitement. I’m such a nerd.

what’s on my mind right now:

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