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Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Genesis of a Book - Lonely Places by A.L. Debran

Since today is Thanksgiving in the United States, it is the perfect backdrop for the genesis of my story.

The Genesis of Lonely Places

My first published novel, Lonely Places, is a western romance I started writing when I was 21. Over the next 30 years, I revisited the story time and again, altering the heroine’s name, nationality, backstory, and personal characteristics countless times. I knew the hero (more of an anti-hero) in my heart so well when I started writing that his story never changed. I just deepened his angst and gave him nastier inner demons to fight. As I matured, the story matured with me, all the while continuing to reflect—and sometimes mirror—my life at any given time, which is why the heroine grew and changed along with me.

Lonely Places is the work of my heart into which I poured my fears, my anger, my hopefulness in the face of hopelessness and, ultimately, my loneliness. When I actually put ideas to paper and began writing the story, I'd been married for three years, my oldest child was an infant, and I would have two more children by the age of 25. I was also 'raising' a husband who was hell-bent on not growing up. He never did. We divorced on our 10th anniversary (a satisfying bit of situational irony). Then a new chapter of my life began, and that involved all the challenges of being a single mother who went to college and then embarked upon a career in education.

In many aspects, I am the heroine of the story, including the head injury with permanent memory loss, finding my way in the dark hours of loneliness, and discovering I could keep going even when I didn’t think it possible to see another day dawn. Working on Lonely Places all those years was therapeutic, and ever present was my hope to publish it someday.

That moment arrived in June of 2006 when Cobblestone Press opened its cyber doors. Lonely Places was the first historical/western Cobblestone published, and it was included in their launch month. It’s published under my first pen name, A.L Debran. To Cobblestone Press publishers, I am forever thankful and grateful they took a chance on an aspiring author of a novel that head-hopped like an Easter rabbit. My editor, with a heart full of patience and determination to teach me the ropes of romance writing, held my hand every edited scene of the way.

As a point of interest—dating myself here—I hand-wrote the original draft on reams of notebook paper. I was so proud when I typed it out for the first time…using a manual typewriter with carbon paper so I’d have a copy (really, really). Many hand-written revisions later, I typed it again on an electric typewriter, also using carbon paper. When I discovered computers, 5-inch floppy disks, and Word Perfect, let me tell you, I did a happy dance.

This is the dedication in Lonely Places:

To my children - Heath, Robyne, and Cameron –
Without you, there would have been many lonely places in my life

While I’ve come a satisfyingly long way emotionally, psychologically, and creatively since the first draft of Lonely Places, loneliness remains a theme that runs through all my stories. I can’t let it go, even though I conquered that demon years ago. For me, there’s a difference in being alone, being lonesome, and being lonely. I can deal with the first two, but when I encounter loneliness, it still hurts me down deep in a dark place I don’t like to visit, and not just for me, but in a broader humanity sense. I include animals in my loneliness spectrum, which is why I have rescue pets, and why I feed stray cats. ;-)

Thanks for letting me share the genesis of my story.


Northeastern Colorado 1890
An unknown gunman takes Elliotte Sorin's memories with a bullet that was meant to kill her. Beau Hyatt saves her. Memories haunt him from his gunfighter past, and while he can’t give her the love she deserves, neither can he let her go. In her loneliness, Elliotte turns to Liam Mederi who offers his love along with a home and the family she so desperately wants. When deadly jealousy rages between the two men, the inevitable confrontation threatens to destroy more than one innocent life.
Fall in love…faster, harder, deeper with Kaye Spencer romances


Amazon Author Central
A.L. Debran —


Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Kaye, what a fascinating and honest story. Good luck with all your writing, Anne Stenhouse

Rose Anderson said...

I loved learning more about you Kaye. It's interesting what corners of our lives we pull our stories from. Thanks for joining us today.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

The inspiration for our books has been a fascinating journey these last few months. Kaye, yours brought tears to my eyes, but you have won out over the problems. Thanks for sharing "Lonely Places" with us.

Kaye Spencer said...

Thank you, Anne, Rose, and Jane. I've been asked many times when I'm going to write the sequel to Lonely Places. Not everyone in Lonely Places gets a HEA.The ending is open for one of the main characters to go on with 'the rest of the story', but I haven't worked out a satisfactory plot, so it remains on my back burner, simmering. ;-)

Barbara said...

This sounds like a wonderful, touching, yet not doubt triumphant story. Best of luck

Andrea Cooper said...

Great post. Sounds like a interesting read. I love how the story continued to tug at you even after years of first writing it. Tweeted.

Kaye Spencer said...

Barbara and Andrea... thank you for commenting. Lonely Places is a touching story. ;-)

J.D. Faver said...

Awesome excerpt, Kaye. Love to read western romance. Have a lovely day with the people you love. We had a French toast breakfast here in Texas. Now to cook that turkey bird. :-)

Kaye Spencer said...

J.D.- I made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for breakfast and my turkey has already cooked to the point of filling the house with the yummy aroma. Thanks for stopping by. ;-)

Gemma Juliana said...

The story is so intertwined with your life, Kaye. What a remarkable event the publishing of this story must have been after so many decades of working and reworking it. Thanks for sharing from your heart.

Kaye Spencer said...

Gemma, It was as hard to let this story 'go' as it was exciting to have it published. I want to write the sequel, but I have to revisit a dark place in my psyche to do that, and I'm not quite ready to make the journey. Someday... maybe... ;-)