As a scifi/fantasy author, I was apprehensive sending Stone House Farm out to publishers. Even after its acceptance at Champagne Books, I still had anxiety. Would the readers who have enjoyed my other books enjoy this one? Would romance readers enjoy it?
I thought world building was hard when I had to create a setting different place from scraps of ideas. Once I began writing Stone House Farm, I discovered contemporary settings aren't easy at all--just a different type of difficulty. We all accept the daily things we do and how our world works, but writing about it isn't that simple. If the details are wrong, the reader will certainly notice the mistakes. Accuracy in describing the tasks of everyday living are necessary--all those details about how the outside world works around and through our daily lives.
In Stone House Farm the story revolves around the land an old stone farmhouse sits on. Developers want the acreage and its views of Lake Michigan for condos. So what is the process they would have to go through to get the land if an owner doesn't want to sell? Could I make it believable? Accurate? After all, a story's believability is all in the details.
There is a snow storm where a local sheriff's deputy, visits the heroine in her snowbound house. Everyone has watched hundreds of police, detective shows, but do local police departments work the same way? Is local police jargon the same as on TV shows? I mentioned the snowstorm -- anyone who has been through one of the recent storms that hit the Mid-Atlantic states has an idea how snow measured in feet can screw life up: no electricity, difficult travel, schools and businesses closed, slow or no emergency service. Needless to say we have such storms in Michigan, but we are usually well prepared for such crisis except when freak storms come along.
I quickly learned a contemporary setting has its own writing challenges. I hope readers will think I met the challenge plus wove an interesting plot through my contemporary setting.
So what happens? Amanda Blanchard is digging out from a bad divorce, cash poor but land rich. Sure she could sell her property, but her family homesteaded this land, and she won't sell her heritage to Wade Preston's development company. Arriving safely home just as a storm begins, Amanda needs to find her mare, the last of her father's prized Morgans, which has escaped the barn. The foal will solve some of her financial woes. While she searches, her dog finds a wounded and near frozen Wade Preston in her orchard. Here is a short excerpt:
Wade's eyelids flickered, but he didn't respond.
She continued shouting at him, unable to stop even though she doubted he heard as she arranged his body on the sled. His eyelids fluttered again, then his eyes opened. He raised his head and his gaze locked on her.
"You!" His soft, hoarse outcry cost him, his head fell back in a helpless fashion and his eyes closed to mere slits. He gasped as she pushed him further on the sled, his face grimacing, his eyelids scrunched shut.
"Why not me? You're trespassing on my property."
Wade's words came thick and slow. "That why you shot me?"
Storm bound with her wounded enemy is not something Amanda planned, and certainly she would have to be delusional to fall in love... Yet those are just the beginnings of her problems.
Hope I've interested you in the story! Stone House Farm is an April release from Champagne Books.