book club feedback
Several years ago, I had the privilege of being the invited author to a book club to speak about my novel, Never Waste Tears. Last week that same book club asked me to discuss its sequel, my latest novel, Never Waste Dreams. Both times allowed me the opportunity to hear how readers perceive the words I write.
When I get involved in developing my characters, they become real people in my mind. But, of course, I have my favorites: Mathew, the abandoned child, or Carl, the man who found him. Maybe it was Hannah, the woman who thought of Mathew as God’s blessing. However, when I asked the club members who their favorite character was, I was surprised when one said she liked Anna the best. Even though Anna didn’t have her own voice in the story, I found it rewarding to hear a reader’s insight into Anna’s personality. It led to further discussion on the traits of some of the minor characters in the book, too. That involved strengths and weaknesses, including the topic of forgiveness.
That was an eye-opener for me. I’d written a story where a whole lot of forgiveness was needed for a variety of reasons. Many in the room shared the emotions they felt for the individuals in the book. While most agreed that forgiveness helps the forgiver the most, it’s not an easy thing to do.
Because life doesn’t always give us a reason for where it takes us, I often leave my readers the opportunity to come to their own conclusion about the outcome of a situation. Besides, our personal life experiences can lead us to a variety of findings. For instance, did the princess lead the man she loved to another fair maiden or his death in the story of The Lady or the Tiger? I remember that short story because the author, Frank Stockton, never revealed the outcome of the choice made.
Thank you, Andover Book Club for having me as your guest. You help me become a better writer.
Never Waste Dreams Promo
Mark your calendars so you don't miss this promotion. Order it here.
review of never waste dreams
I want to thank author Jim Potter for his review of my novel Never Waste Dreams. You can read his thoughts on his website at sandhenge publications.
my thoughts on marketing
Nancy Julien Kopp supports and shares her thoughts on writing. She recently asked me to guest post on marketing my self-published books. See it on Writer Granny's World.
From "You Read it Here First"
Christina Hamlett asked to interview me for her blog. This is from the interview.
KDP promo for The Rocking Horse
Thank You "AWESOME GANG"
Author interview from AWESOME GANG.awesomegang.com/gloria-zachgo/
Book signing scheduled
from another time
I lived my childhood in rural Lincoln County, on some of the same land I’ve written about in my two historical novels. I was the only kid in my grade for eight years at the one-room schoolhouse close to our farm. My graduating high school class in Vesper, Kansas, totaled five. That life was —from another time.
My novels, Never Waste Tears and Never Waste Dreams, are fictional. However, I wanted to be true to the history of the area and the times. So, one of my research sources was the book LINCOLN—that County in Kansas by Dorothe Tarrence Homan. When I was a young girl attending school, she was the Lincoln County School Superintendent.
Through Ms. Homan’s research, I learned of the early families that founded the history of Lincoln County, including the battle for county seat between the town known as Lincoln Center (at that time) and the town of Abram. I trusted her research and used it to show the growth and development of Lincoln and the end of Abram, Kansas. I’d never heard of Abram before. Unfortunately, a quick search on the internet gave me no information that the town existed.
My curiosity piqued when I read her accounts about several murders and a vigilante party. I wanted to mention them to bring a bit of Lincoln’s history to the story. Yet, I didn’t want to focus on them, so I used Tinker’s version of those events.
Dorothe’s book also told of the devastation Lincoln County suffered during the years of the Rocky Mountain Locust Invasion. I used that material with the brochures and postcards sent to me by a friend (thanks, Jim) to show the true grit of the people who settled in Kansas. It was all—from another time.
THE RIGHT WORDS
Suppose I need a comment to describe something awe-inspiring. In today’s writings, I might use one or more of the following words: stupendous, bombastic, fabulous, tremendous.
My characters used more elementary words in my novels about homesteading in the 19th century era. For example – Martha’s description – I think I will never forget the beauty I saw in the sky that morning when the sun rose, making the clouds in the east dance in golden highlights.
I often turned to the web to ensure a word or phrase would work for the vernacular I used. For example, I wanted to use hooligans. However, a quick inquiry told me it wasn’t used in English until around 1900. I used the word ruffians instead.
The Ellsworth sheriff cussed with a mild form of profanity. “Now, what in tarnation am I gonna do with you?” I’m sure even that tough-guy sheriff would blush at some of the profane words we use today.
When one of Hannah’s chickens met her unfortunate demise from the hooves of a cow, Hannah yelled, “Mathew, you are gonna learn how to pluck a chicken.” Yet, Nellie used the same word to describe courage and fortitude. She said, “We’ll all need some pluck to pull through this winter.”
I love playing with words—my favorite in Never Waste Dreams was when Mathew realized he no longer needed to fear an obnoxious brood hen. He said, “You were right. She had me bamboozled.”
I let my characters speak in their simple dialect. Maybe that’s why I had so much fun finding the right words for my early pioneers.