Today on Writers Wednesday, please help me welcome a friend who is also a debut author. Jaye Garland's first book, THE 25th HOUR, was released on August 28 from Soul Mate Publishing.
**She is graciously giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave your email address.
Jaye, you've had such great response to your book, a time travel to 1877 Wyoming. I've read it and it's absolutely delightful. Please tell us a little about the story.
Love to. Here's the back cover blurb:
Chased through time by her father’s murderer, Houston architect Sheridan Wells unwittingly ‘erases’ herself and hurtles back to 1877 Wyoming Territory, to the moment that changed her family’s history forever—to the source of her father’s wealth—wealth the villain swears is his.
Heart locked by guilt, widower Alexander Reed, a War of the Rebellion hero-turned-rancher, attempts to disprove the transient woman’s story, labels her a charlatan and intends to dismiss her, but his precocious daughter has already claimed Sheridan as her new mother.
And the answer to that question is exciting. What drew you to this story?
A combination of things, actually. There was an unrestored Victorian house for sale in Sheridan, Wyoming, that my real estate agent and I explored—and that house begged to be filled with a loving family, but it was way over my piddling budget. Years later, I worked as an accountant in a construction company in Houston, Texas. It was meant to be, I guess, that a spirited designer with her whole career in front of her, named Sheridan, joined the firm. Snap!
LOL. Isn't it great, the things that inspire our stories? Would you share an excerpt?
The fun part in writing this book was getting the current-day, architect-heroine, Sheridan Wells, into the 19th century so she could experience that original house. So, in keeping with the idea of what drew me to this story, here’s an excerpt showing Sheridan’s arrival in the original 1877 Victorian home.
A window of leaded glass panes hung above a cozy seating area at the top of the first landing. “I must have fallen and knocked myself out coming down the stairs.”
With trepidation, she tensed her muscles, and then pushed herself into a sitting position. “Good, nothing’s broken.” But, her bones sniveled against the fall, declaring she’d been thoroughly drummed. She felt as off kilter as a bent needle on a compass.
She gazed at her surroundings. The staircase seemed familiar, a vague replica of the Culver mansion, only better. An odd feeling shivered up her arms. These are the same bedeviling stairs that defied sketching. She twisted around to look behind her.
“Oh, wow.” The foyer’s completed and it’s better than I’d imagined. But, how? When did we finish the job?
Scrunching her eyes in concentration, panic washed over her. “What else can’t I remember?”
Bits of memories flashed through her mind: Ginger escorting Gibbs Wannabe, scratching a long overdue trip to the family cemetery, tracing off the blueprints . . . “What happened next?” A ray of sparks flashed through the foyer, and her thoughts trailed after the shimmery residue.
She inhaled three quick breaths and then let them out in one, long exhale. Working on the blueprints . . . and then what? The drawing was her last memory.
Her fists clenched and her acrylic nails dug into her palms. Nothing else. She squared her shoulders. “Well, fine. I’m at the Culver mansion but what day is this? The place is done. How much time have I lost? Months?”
She grabbed the banister and hauled her body upright. “I’ll take a couple aspirin for my headache and then figure this out. Now, where’s my dad’s old satchel?”
On unsteady feet, she pushed opened the slotted doors between the foyer and the parlor. “My, my. They’ve never slid open so easily.” The doors barely settled against their casings when her jaw fell slack.
The antique furniture had been cleaned and polished to a high gloss. Forcing a calm breath, she charged through the parlor and slid the kitchen doors aside. If the first two rooms had been amazing, the kitchen was astonishing. Every historical detail was accurate, right down to the red cast-iron water pump at the end of the counter.
“Everything looks a bit too cozy, almost like it’s occupied.” Doubt scrimmaged in her brain and her headache intensified. She stepped to the door next to the hearth and pushed down on the lever-like handle. It swung on oiled hinges opening a passage to the front hall and she was back in the foyer, staring at the beguiling staircase.
That's a teaser of a stopping place, Jaye. What’s your next project? I'll bet fans are hoping for a sequel.
It is. I’m working on Book II of The Sheridan Chronicles. This next book will feature the hero’s daughter from THE 25th HOUR, but she’s now grown and is still mixing things up with everyone she meets. She’s on a mission to uncover every little secret that the townsfolk would rather keep buried. Well, it’s been said that ‘truth shall set you free’, but it can also sting. Oh my!
Sounds great. Here's hoping to see it as soon as possible. What one tip would you offer writers?
Never quit. Yeah, it’s that simple. Even though your writing may get sidelined by real life events, which is inevitable, get back to it as soon as you can. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just keep writing and learning. The day you quit is the day you let yourself down.
How do your stories ‘come to you’ at first--through characters, setting, story line?
Good question! A tiny spark, like part of a song title or an image from life around me that resonates in my mind and won’t go away, is the germ of an idea for each of my stories. From there, a character is generally the first to appear, then the setting, and the story develops from there. But, I can’t control the story or it ends up reading flat and not believable. Example: In drafting THE 25th HOUR, I started writing the hero’s child as a boy. That changed when the child insisted that she was a little girl. Well, that scared me silly. I raised two sons. What did I know about five year old girls? Come to find out, I needn’t have worried because those scenes seemed to write themselves. Amazing how that works!
Don't you love the way the characters talk to writers? She wanted to be a girl, and she made sure you understood her, so the transition was smooth. Good job. Thanks so much for visiting today, Jaye. Best of luck with the book. I hope you'll come back soon.
Thank you for hosting me today. The questions were fun!Here's a little more about me.
Born and raised on the Great Plains, Jaye Garland thrives on ‘what-if’ scenarios by turning ordinary ranch life events into novels steeped in adventure on the American West. Her award winning first novel, THE 25th HOUR, debuted as an eBook on Amazon.com.
Visit Jaye here:Website: http://jayegarland.wordpress.com
THE 25th HOUR is available at Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/mvv8h65
DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE YOUR NAME AND EMAIL FOR A CHANCE AT JAYE'S BOOK GIVEAWAY.