Sunday, April 26, 2015


The seedlings in my garret window
It's finally, once and for all, spring in my little corner of the world. The snow is, except for a few tiny patches, gone from the woods, the herons have returned to nest at the beaver pond, and my hubby, who loves to garden, has started tiny pots of tomatoes and peppers and squash.  The seedlings are sprouting now and they occupy every windowsill of our house.
It's exciting to see the little sprouts, even though I know some of them won't make it as far as the garden. A few pots never sprout anything at all and need to be reseeded. Some of them won't yield much—we got only a single eggplant last year, no bigger than my thumb.  But some of those plants will grow tall and strong, we've had tomatoes that need to be double staked as they will bend the slender pole of a single bamboo rod. One tomato plant yielded over two dozen plums, each more perfect than the other.
Writing is like this, too. You start with a seedling; a single idea, a character and you plant a few words and then a few more. Some ideas will never make it past the seedling phase. And some, though they seemed so brilliant at the start, will fade and wither as you try to fashion them into story.  Some ideas, though, will grow, sprouting new ideas and characters, until you have a book. Or even an entire series.
Such was the case with the Sweet Lenora series. It began as a single novella written in answer to a
call for submissions by the publishers at Champagne Books and an itch to try my hand at writing historical fiction. At twenty thousand words (around sixty five pages), this seemed an easy way to dip my toe into the historical pool. I had a seed, a character I'd been carrying around in my head. She was a young woman who was the daughter of a ship builder.  I added a hero (it was to be historical romance, after all) , who was a clipper ship captain and invented a way for the two to meet and fall in love.
The story grew and I knew, by the time I'd finished the novella, that there was a lot more to write about.  I took the idea for continuing it to my editor and we decided on a trilogy of novellas, the Sweet Lenora series. I finished the books, all of them short, and the last was published a year ago.
And still, I wasn't quite done.  Since the novellas weren't as popular as we'd hoped they'd be, the publisher suggested a full length novel to complete the series. And so I went back to my garret and, last November, finished the story. Sweet Auralie, the final part of the journey, will be released by Champagne Books next October.  My editor and I are hard at work, getting it polished for readers.
Not too bad for a single idea. Who knows what a single seed can yield? Sometimes, you just have to write to find out.

On a final and separate note, this is my last posting at the Vineyard.  It's been a wonderful, fun being here, but it's time for me to batten down the hatches and concentrate on my writing. And who knows, I might be back at some point in the future, you never can tell. I will still be around on line, of course, and  you can catch me on my own blog at Inside the Writer's Garret, be part of my facebook group, or sign up for my Letters from the Garret newsletter. For now, in the words of the late great Douglas Adams—"Goodbye and thanks for all the fish". 



Julie Eberhart Painter said...

You are certainly leaving on a positive note. Good luck with your new books.

And, all hail to the tomatoes, best fruit the USA ever misscategorized.

Ute Carbone said...

Thanks Julie! Tomatoes will always be vegetables in our garden, lol.

Jude Johnson said...

Thanks for all your great posts, Ute. I know you'll do well in your new ventures. Enjoy the springtime fun!

Liz Fountain said...

Your contributions will be missed - come back for guest posts when you have new work to share!

Ute Carbone said...

Thanks Jude and Liz. It is really spring--the snow is gone!! :)