Monday, December 8, 2008

Last Roadtrip and New Beginnings

I just got back from a roadtrip between central Montana and Tucson, Arizona. There's nothing like the feel of the open road for adventure. It all reminded me of a remark I heard at the last RWA convention in San Francisco -- it seems that the Harlequin editors had realized that a lot of books begin with a scene of the heroine or hero driving into town. As I was driving along, I started thinking about books I had written with that beginning -- my very first Steeple Hill book, An Angel for Dry Creek, for one. Can you think of books that have begun with the road into town? Tell me what you think of it.


  1. That is so true, I can already picture some of the books I've read lately that start that way.

  2. Janet, the first one I think of is one of my manuscripts that got rejected several years ago! :)

    And you know, I had a critique by a published author who told me I needed to start the story later. In fact, she told me where she thought my story began. But I didn't make that particular change. Hmmmm.....


    I'm glad you had a great trip!

  3. Janet,
    Next time you head to Tucson, give me a call. One of my best friends lives there and I drive up often. It's only two hours away.
    My first LIS not only started with the heroine in the car, but the road you posted looks a lot like the road on the cover :)
    My third LIS started in the car, too.

  4. Janet you know me and how I feel about road trips!!! My car is always gassed and ready. And my first book The Trouble with Lacy Brown began with a road and Lacy Brown heading to Mule Hollow (it's on the cover) The road is very important to all the Mule Hollow books and many of them have it on the cover with cars heading to MH. I've always had an infatuation with going places and with roads in general. I'm a painter too (though I gave it up for my first love--writing) but most of my pictures and the ones I buy too have roads on them. I have a beautiful print by Steve Songer called "Beyond the Gate" and when I'm coming up with new proposals I look at that picture of a quaint sidewalk leading past a picket fence and out onto a road...and I let my imagination go crazy as I figure out where that road is going to lead me this time. It is a very effective "road" into my creative mind :)

    Also, your book in the anthology with me (Smalltown Brides that comes out in April 09 through Love Inspired) your heroine and hero are on a road leaving Mule Hollow and heading toward Dry Creek...

    So glad you had a great time!

  5. SketchGirl -- Hey, great to see you here! Does the 'Sketch' mean you are an artist?

    Missy -- With the road comment at the RWA, the editors said they were giving a thumbs down to books opening with driving into a new town (actually, they probably just suggested a new beginning, but I thought it was interesting that they had so many with that opening).

    Pamela -- I thought about looking you up on this trip, but it was hectic (I only had one day in Tucson and had to unpack my parents and get them set up). I plan to connect soon though -- we're so close.

    Debbie -- I thought of you when I wrote about the road. There is something so adventuresome about going to a new place by driving (I don't think there are so many stories that begin with someone flying into town or getting off the train). And, I had fogot that my novella in Small Town Brides begins on the road.

  6. Just off the top of my memory, one of Ted Dekker's begins that way. Skin, I think. That was a great book.

    I live in Arizona, been to Tucson a few times, great drive.

    The open road is nice. Let's you think, and that's always (well most of the time) a good thing for a writer.

    Thanks for this post.

  7. Lynnrush --

    The open road like that is almost hypnotic -- I can get so much thinking done. Now, if there's traffic, that's a different story. The I-15 from Montana down through Nevada though is smooth sailing with not much traffic (just the kind of road I like).

  8. I love roadtrips. The best one I ever took was through NM, Colo, and up to Leadville. What a sight. thanks for your great post.

  9. Traveler -- I think we all love road trips (at least in our mind where we forget about the traffic and the long hours). It's such a call to adventure (and, when you think about it, that's what a book often is as well).

  10. I love driving vacations also. In fact that is the only way I travel and I think I've been on the same road trip except I ended up back home in South Texas. I know I have read books that started with a road into town but can't remember any names.

  11. Ellen -- Great to see you here (I know your posts from eHarlequin). I think the road into town at the beginning of a book or movie is a classic. I'm thinking of a Hitchcock movie that began that way -- am I thinking Psycho? And then Stephen King uses that in Misery (altho the poor writer doesn't really get to town I don't think). Anyway, we all know that when a book/movie begins with someone driving into town something big will happen!

  12. OK all you roadtrippers.... next time you hit the road to get inspiration for your next best seller, please do me the honor of trying my site

    Glad to hear that there are believers that write about romance. I'm going check out some of the titles you've mentioned in this blog.

    God bless,


  13. Driving into town in the beginning of a good book opens up a whole new world for the reader who hasn't been in that town before. I have read books that start like that but hadn't thought anything about it. Now, I will be WATCHING for just that! Then I can come back and tell you what I think, after contemplating what I thought.
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms at yahoo dot com


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