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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.
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.
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?
Next time I have the noive to complain about my job, I hope you will remind me of days like this:
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 Moon, Honey 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…)
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.