Because I loved writing The Showboat Affair--and because I thought I needed an excuse to go back to Branson MO for another cruise on The Branson Belle--I outlined a second novel with the wonderful showboat as a partial setting: The Showboat Reunion. And that was as far as it got.
I did, in fact, return to Branson a couple of years ago but concentrated on The Landing, that wonderful, unending vista of shops and restaurants running along LakeTaneycomo. But next month I’m booked for five fascinating days to revisit many of the sites I enjoyed on the first trip, including (this time) a lunch cruise on The Branson Belle.
Inspiration for The Showboat Reunion? Of course! I’ve rethought the whole story and decided it will make a much better romance without mixing in murder. (I’ve been told I’m very good at killing people.)
So between now and the time I depart on this much-anticipated adventure, I plan a very rough draft of the love story in novella rather than novel form.
The Showboat Affair, published by The Wild Rose Press in 2011 under their Vintage Rose/Last Rose of Summer line, dealt with two people adrift on their own lonely seas until their boats collide and find their survival--emotional and maybe even physical--depend on each other.
|Jean and Nick|
So where did Nick and Jean come from? First of all, from my imagination, of course. But being older myself, writing “first love/puppy love/” is far removed from my own experience. Widowed at the relatively young age of thirty-four, I never remarried (and I’m okay with that), but there was a time, after I’d raised my sons, I might have considered it with the right man. And that right man became Nick Cameron, widowed attorney with only good memories of his first marriage which ended too soon. Jean Kingston is a composite of many women I’ve known whose marriages dissolved through no fault of their own and who had to reinvent themselves--something I’ve had to do since moving from single mother to simply single woman.
Moving on, where did the characters for The Showboat Reunion come from? My generation’s war was Viet Nam, so Col. Sid “Bull” Bullington (USMC, ret.) is one of the many men who left the familiarity of home as a young man and returned as a stranger who was old before his time. Sadly, the country didn’t welcome back these heroes as they’d done in the past, leaving even more scars on their souls.
|Sid "Bull" Bullington|
Gail Callaway, twenty years his junior, lost her life in another war which her fiancé died fighting. She’s one of those women who always did what she was told. While she dreamed in secret, she never dared to make those dreams come true. Most of my life, I could have been Gail. When I emerged from my own cocoon, family members found it inconvenient for themselves--and perhaps downright frightening.
It’s always difficult for me to let go of my characters, but the showboat has sailed for Nick and Jean. Now it’s Sid’s and Gail’s turn. . .and I’m excited.
Photos purchased from Fotolia
Read more about The Showboat Affair
and see a video trailer at my website.