Category Archives: Great Read

Going #Home Again. Can We? Should We? @AliceOrrBooks #RomanticSuspense #MFRWauthor

 

Going Home imageEvery story is a conversation with myself as the author and myself as a person. I usually don’t recognize what that conversation is about until I’m at least halfway through the writing. Sometimes, not until I’ve typed “The End.” After publishing four books in my current series, I discover the conversation for me is often about going home. Or about not going home.

In A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1, I knew early on in the storytelling that Kara’s dilemma has been my own dilemma for decades. Can we go home again? Can we return to the place that birthed us and nurtured us? Or, as is sometimes the case, the place that failed to nurture us. The answer is more difficult when we’ve had a hometown experience like Kara’s, the non-nurturing kind with hurtful memories to go with it.

For Kara the dark memory pits have to do with two things, her family and her past relationships with men. She doesn’t want to fall into either of those pits again. Yet, she can’t seem to stay away from Matt, even though she knows for sure that seeing him again will mean heartache for her. He is like the sore tooth she can’t keep from flicking with her tongue, maybe to make certain the pain is still there. Or, more accurately, to make sure the strong feelings are still there. Isn’t that true of most of us at one time or another?

For example, we can’t seem to stop ourselves from signing up for the high school reunion. We shop long and hard for the perfect outfits to display ourselves at our best advantage. We have our hair styled. We struggle to lose weight. We’ve got unfinished business back there. Battlefields we didn’t conquer the first time around. The mean girls. The bad boys. The warm friendships that went cold. We long to write a more satisfying ending to at least some of those chapters.

In my latest novel, A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4, recognizing the Going Home theme came later rather than sooner, probably because the question isn’t so much, “Can Vanessa go home?” as it is “Why must Vanessa go home?” She left Riverton, the remote North Country town that is the setting for this series, when she was so young she barely recalls the place. She fled across the continent long ago with her mother, who now warns Vanessa about her plan to return.

“Don’t be so sure they’ll want you when you get there,” Mom ominously intones, but Vanessa doesn’t listen.

There are clichés for what she does instead. She makes herself the cat whom curiosity might kill. She tempts a fate unimaginable in her wildest dreams, or nightmares. She wakes a sleeping tiger, and her curious kitty could be outmatched by this jungle cousin. She is told more than once, “There be dragons!” in the hidden territory of the past and monsters in the secret depths of its perilous waters. Still, she risks all, including her heart and her life, because there’s a mysterious man in the mix, plus a murderer.

Wouldn’t you do the same if you had a lost family to find? How many times do we poke at a live electrical socket for the sake of family? Especially the factions of family everything, including our own common sense, warns us to avoid. I confess to a headful of singed follicles and a fistful of scarred fingertips from my own forays. There lies the most powerful lure of home. Family. The family of our blood. The family of our hearts. The family of our wishful yearning. We can’t resist it, not Kara nor Vanessa nor you nor me.

What tangled tales those misadventures weave. Tangled and fascinating. So much so I can’t stop telling them and going home to do it, too. Did I forget to mention I was born and raised in a remote North Country town?

RR

A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4 and my other books are available from Amazon HERE and from most other online book retailers at their websites. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE EBOOK there too. Enjoy!

Alice Orr –

http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/

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Family Stories and Colliding Memories

Collision imageI’m fascinated by the patchwork we as family members create with our family memories. An incident occurs in our shared past. An important even traumatic incident. The details sear our consciousness. Yet when we compare notes we discover those details differ from one of us to the other. From one family member to the other.

Sometimes the discrepancy is good natured like it could be with my brother and me. We’d debate and tease each other. Maybe even accuse each other of fabrication in the same teasing manner. But that was only with the not-so-touchy bits. Nostalgia rather than gut wrenching. The dreadful stories were just that – worthy of dread – so we mostly didn’t mention them.

We tiptoed around those narratives because they were quicksand. One wrong step and we could be sucked down with no hope of rescue. Rescue from what? Rescue from the collision of my version of reality and his and from the powerful confrontation that might erupt. We had mutually and silently agreed to avoid such battles and generally we did.

Consequently my brother left this earth with all but a few of our most potent shared experiences unspoken. Otherwise the relationship might not have survived as long as it did. Would I have preferred an open field of exchange? Yes of course. Nonetheless I chose silence and dissembling over openness and its fearsome revelatory glare.

Maybe my regret of that sin of omission is the reason colliding stories flow like a brackish river through so much of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series. In the first story A Wrong Way Home Hailey and Julia spend their early years as close friends before being separated for a long and painful time. Their stories of that separation and its origin vary dramatically.

Julia’s mother Virginia’s memories diverge even further as do those of Hailey’s mother Annemarie. What these recollections have in common is their mine field potential to blast both families – their past as well as their present – to kingdom come. And they do. A Wrong Way Home begins with a murder after all and wades through a quagmire of secrets afterwards.

Book 4 – A Villain for Vanessa is rife with the raw material for more combustible collisions. Between Vanessa and her mother Amelia. Between Amelia and her sister Angela Kalli. Among just about everyone involved with the Westerlo side of Vanessa’s family. The explosive tonnage is terrifying. Nobody would want to be in the midst of this family when it implodes.

This is fertile ground for storytelling. But it’s toxic territory in real life. Think about it. Who in your family do you tiptoe around for fear of a collision of your differing truths? What conflagrations have you barely survived when one of those toes slipped into the memory mine field? My advice. When you tell those stories – swear to heaven they are fiction.

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

RR

A Wrong Way HomeRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. A Villain for Vanessa and my other books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.

 

Setting a Book Launch Date

Boldt CastleBeginnings are crucial or they at least seem to be. We get only one chance to make a first impression and we mustn’t squander that chance. How many times have you heard that? How many times did it make your throat clench in response? And when we refer to the beginning as a Launch the ante is definitely higher still.

Battleships Launch with the crack of a champagne bottle across the bow. We need to come up with something equally Dramatic for a book launch. I must do that now. A Dramatic Opening just like in my stories which I often jumpstart with a murder scene. But I don’t want to bump somebody off to kick off of my new book. I’d prefer to be more subtle than that.

My chosen date must be dramatic nonetheless. And memorable. And related to the story – a Romantic Suspense novel. So I’m looking for a Launch Date that is romantic somehow and suspenseful somehow. I feel the throat clench coming on and some head spinning too. My anxiety level soars as the ante does the same.

Then inspiration strikes. A date commemorating something dramatic for me. Life changing even. Romantic and suspenseful too. Plus it was literally A Date. My first date with the man who has been my romantic hero and best friend ever since. Sweet Jonathan as I’ve come to call him. Forty-four years backward in time from this coming June which is almost here.

The Ask was suspenseful for sure. I could feel he was on the verge of it but I wasn’t certain he’d actually get there. The anticipation was intense. Would he ever do anything besides gaze at me all moony eyed when he didn’t think I was looking? My girlfriend Marsha urged me to make The Ask myself but I couldn’t. This was too important to me. He had to take the first step.

Then it was Saturday June 17th. Jonathan and I worked at the same facility and we were running an event together that day. A field trip to – of all places – Heart Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. The island is shaped like a heart because the legendary owner had it re-engineered that way in honor of his devotion to his wife. He built a castle there for her too.

What a romantic story. Except she died and romance turned to tragedy. A romantic story remained unfinished. The castle remained unfinished also. I was starting to suspect Sweet Jonathan and I were destined to be unfinished as well. Then – when the suspense had my heart pounding at an excruciating pace – the climactic scene finally occurred. HE ASKED.

Dramatic. Life changing. Suspenseful. Romantic. Few days have been more of all of those things for me than that sunny June afternoon on the river I’d loved since I was a child. The river which just happens to appear prominently in my new book. In fact this exact same river comes close to drowning my heroine and my hero along with her.

The life I now live was launched that day on my river. The romantic love chapter of my life began and has since deepened into a complex and compelling story. I didn’t know our future story yet but I did know I was falling in love and found out soon afterward that Jonathan felt the same. Meanwhile I was quite terrified but he wasn’t and that saved the day.

I save the day again now for the launch of A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Bobby and Vanessa’s story but Jonathan and Alice’s story even more so. Because without a special afternoon of spectacular sunshine on Heart Island forty-four years ago I might never have lived my own up close and very personal Romantic Suspense.

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

RR

A Villain for VanessaRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Official launch June 17. A Villain for Vanessa will be available here. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE eBook at the same site and most other online book retailers.