Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Monday, October 06, 2014

Carole Brown - What's More Important in Writing a Novel?

Good Monday Morning Readers,

Today's Author is Carole Brown. She discusses the elements of writing a story. Welcome, Carole!

What’s more important in writing a novel?
First chapter?
Final chapter?

Ask any author and you’ll probably come up with different answers and variety of reasons why this or that is the most important. Here’s my take:

It’s all important. Every last one. Why do I say that? Let me give you a couple examples:

In my debut novel: The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman:
Ÿ  Setting was vital to give the right feel to a secluded cult group. I wanted it to be an area that could glide right into the story line and pepper the events with an authentic feel.
Ÿ  Characters need to be unique to your story and I tried to show Caralynne not only bitter and angry but with a gentleness and courageous spirit. It’s hard to bring such a diverse amount of feelings to the same character without making them your antagonist. So I gave her the anger and bitterness toward the men who’d hurt her oldest daughter and the gentleness and courage in defending her friends and daughters.
Ÿ  Plot. The plot was different in that I brought about the rebellion within it from one woman. Lots of novels deal with cults and getting out of them, but this one was about a woman trapped in the cult, not only by fear of repercussions of desertion, but by her own feelings of revenge.
Ÿ  Dialogue. To me, it’s something that develops along with the character. How does she talk when confronted by a gossipy woman of the group? How is her conversation when speaking with her daughters or the new minister? I put myself in the character’s place and try to see how I would respond as that character.
Ÿ  First/last Chapter. These two are vital. The first in drawing the reader into the book and giving them the feeling, they can’t put this down. And the last, in that it leaves the reader with a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, serenity or at least a hunger for more.

Now, in my WWII novel, With Music in Their Hearts:
Ÿ  I started with the Plot. We were acquainted with the man who self-published a book about himself, a minister, when he served as a civilian spy during WWII.
Ÿ  The Characters were then easy to develop. A minister called to serve as a civilian spy. Add a spunky woman overly concerned with worries of caring for her younger sisters and father, keeping up with a boarding house filled with diverse boarders, and falling for the new minister.
Ÿ  Dialogue: I enjoyed developing Emma Jaine and Tyrell’s dialogue. They were both flawed with their own problems and self-faults, yet filled with a yearning for true love and excitement. The occasional outbursts of flirtatious conversations gave flavor to the story.
Ÿ  Setting was an easy choice for this novel. I’ve lived in Cincinnati, and love that city and it‘s fascinating history. Give it a river and the close proximity of a different bordering state with a fictitious war time plant nearby, and it worked perfectly.
Ÿ  The First chapter originally began in Emma Jaine’s point of view, but when I decided to increase the suspense, I shifted the story line to begin with Tyrell Walker, the new minister’s point of view. I felt it added a depth of mystery to the plot for Tyrell to wonder where his cousin and best friend came into the story. 
Ÿ  And the last chapter had only one place to go: the fruition of Tyrell and Emma Jaine’s love.

All in all the best way to write a novel. Give it an exciting plot, a fascinating setting, characters who could easily step from the pages and join in the table conversation--or not, depending on who they are (lol), witty and personable dialogue, and of course, a first chapter that hooks the reader so deeply he can’t leave and the final chapter that has him muttering, “Surely it’s not over yet!”

I love a book that’s almost alive, one that throws it’s literary arms wide open and invites all who dare to enter and enjoy.

Only then will you have a winner of a novel. 

Carole, I agree! I love to loose myself in the setting and really become friends with the characters.

With Music in Their Heart   

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

With Music in Their Heart releases November 2014! Check out my personal links to keep in touch for availability! Then look for it on Amazon.

Brown not only has her award winning (Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel.

November, 2013, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies.

Releasing November, 2014, is the first book in a new WWII romantic suspense series: With Music In Their Hearts. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:

I also am part of several other blogs:
Barn Door Book Loft:

Carole, thanks for stopping by!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe.

I hope you enjoyed Carole's article and blurb about  her latest book. If you're interested connect with her to get the release date of "With Music in her Heart." 

I pray you find 
"a little something extra" 
in each of your days.

Tell us, what elements of a book draws you in and makes it hard to put down?


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