I had lunch last weekend with a group of ladies I went to high school with. They were kind enough to ask about my new release and one of the questions (and one I'm frequently asked) was which of my books is my favorite. The easy answer is obvious. All of them. But then I broke it down for them.
Because this is a high school reunion year for me, it was easy to tell them that my latest, Return to Hoffman Grove, is one of my favorites, because I revisited some of the things I remembered from high school. My books are NOT autobiographical, but that doesn't mean some of the scenes I wrote aren't based on my observations--and as an author, I embellished some of those scenes for dramatic effect.
Each of my novels has a favorite part for me. While re-editing Intimate Distance, I fell in love with Uncle Vinnie again. He was my favorite character, providing love and support when Julianne felt unloveable and alone.
Touched by the Sun remains one of my favorites because it was my first "major" inspiration. I've always been fascinated with Pompeii, from the time I wrote a term paper on it in eighth grade. Add in my religious background with St. Paul roaming the region in a logical time frame, I couldn't stop my imagination from piecing the two together. The Holy Grail? Buried by Mount Vesuvius? I had to write the story!
Living Canvas was a throwback to my Night Gallery days. I was the kid who loved watching Creature Features (much to the chagrin of babysitters on those nights my parents went out). It was also my first "travel diary," sharing some of the beautiful places I've visited with my main character. I also added my experiences with bed and breakfast inns and there was a house (not a bed and breakfast) which I drove past regularly that captivated my imagination (hence, Castle Valley Inn).
Mist on the Meadow is a nod to my German heritage, combined with my bizarre imagination. I wanted to write about that "moment of grace" when I was driving to work one foggy morning, and a buck stood at the edge of the woods huffing a cloud of breath into the cold air. It was a magical moment for me, and from that moment alone, the story was born.
Heart for Rent came from a visit to France. Walking through the outdoor market on the square. Another of those magical moments in my life (I'm easily impressed by the most ridiculous things!) I wasn't sure how to incorporate that into a story, and decided my main character was renting out her house back home while she struggled with personal demons.
So which is my favorite? Well, each of them touched me enough to write them, and each one allowed me to share a piece of myself and my experiences. (That's the "write what you know" part of writing.)
I wrote a book a few years ago which I haven't yet edited for public consumption that was inspired by an old made-for-TV movie. Epitaph (a haunted house story) will eventually get dusted off and "fixed," but in the meantime, I'm working on the second Kundigerin book (second in the Mist on the Meadow trilogy). My plan is to complete both the second and the third book, and I have an inspiration for the next stand-alone to follow them. The inspiration? Tromp L'eoil. I saw the most fascinating YouTube video ... (did I mention I'm easily impressed by the most ridiculous things?) No idea where I'm taking it yet, but looks like a fun starting point, no?