Mountain Laurel Elliot, the main character in Find Wonder in All Things, is an artist—specifically, a potter. My modern version of Anne Eliot lives alone in a cabin in the foothills of Appalachia, without a phone, without a TV, perhaps hiding from the world—or from a past she regrets. Writing Anne Eliot was at times an exercise in frustration: because of the constraints of the original character’s time and place, a modern version of Anne can look like a doormat. I wanted her to be a sympathetic character, not a pathetic one. So her passivity really had to come from her own nature and from her family, rather than the constraints of Regency society. So she’s artistic and a bit eccentric, but also loving and loyal, as well as extremely private.
Pinterest Board for Find Wonder in All Things
But my hero, James, was also a special kind of challenge. He had to seem “dangerous” to Laurel’s family, and unsuitable to her hippie-relic father. So, I made him a working class Midwestern kid with a bit of a materialistic side. And I made him a musician. What’s scarier to a teenage girl’s parents than a musician, right?
I was about 2/3 of the way through the first draft when one of my beta readers, the lovely and brilliant Karen Adams, sent me a link to the YouTube video of “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley. She commented that it reminded her of Laurel and James and their summer of love. And with that comment, she lit something of a firestorm in my imagination. I created a soundtrack to the entire tale, finding a song-story for each chapter that guided me as I revised and drove the story home. The soundtrack is a tradition I’ve continued with each book. She not only forever changed Find Wonder in All Things, but also my writing process, with that suggestion.
Find Wonder’s Spotify Playlist
If you’ve read Persuasion, you know about “The Letter” where Wentworth declares his love for Anne. It’s arguably one of the most romantic bits of prose in English Literature. There’s no way to top it – I didn’t even want to try. Instead, I wrote this tune and wove it into the fabric of the story. Then I took the lines of the Letter and parsed them into ideas which I fit as lyrics to the tune.
My third giveaway for #FindWonders5th is wrapping up on Feb 21st.
See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Find Wonder In All Things (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/90e23b439f26c19f NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Feb 21, 2017 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.
If you don’t win and want to read the book (or gift it to a friend), don’t despair – a Kindle Countdown deal begins on Feb 22, and counts down to March 1, the five year anniversary of the Kindle release.
The #FindWonders5th book-birthday celebration keeps rolling. Thanks for stopping by!