Happy fall Monday! And it’s not raining in Ohio–Hooray! Are you looking for something to read that will get you in the mood for Christmas? I’ve got just the ticket….er, book. Fellow writer and friend, Rose McCauley has co-authored a new book called Christmas Belles of Georgia along with Jeanie Smith Cash, Debra Ullrick and Jeri Odell. I asked Rose to tell us how she researched this book:
How A Kentucky Gal Researched and Wrote a Story about a Georgia Belle…My friend, Jeanie Smith Cash, emailed me over 2 years ago with an anthology idea she had about four sisters, separated at birth, who are reunited on their 25th birthday. She asked me and two other authors, Debra Ullrick and Jeri Odell, to join her in each writing the story of one sister. The town she chose for our story to end in was Monticello, Georgia, and I decided to begin and end my story there, so started with the info about the town Jeanie had sent all of us and then researched some more—online and by telephone interviews. I fell in love with the town of Monticello as soon as I started reading about it. It had all the small-town charm I love to read and write about—small towns with huge hearts. I learned about a restaurant called Big Chics and could even find pictures of it on the Internet and talked to the owner of the restaurant who gave me other menu ideas to add to the authenticity of my character’s meals there—like fried okra! On the Internet, I found a lovely Southern home known as The Warren House Bed and Breakfast that I used as a place for my heroine, Carol, to stay whenever she came to Monticello. The owner, Rod Perry, was a wealth of information about the furnishings of the B & B, right down to the bed step Carol had to use to get down from the “four-poster bed of rice-carved mahogany”—all described in detail by Mr. Perry, as well as the many homes and businesses that dot the town which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now that my book, Christmas Belles of Georgia, is out, I am planning a trip to Georgia in November to do some booksignings, visit
with some of the people I interviewed, and enjoy the “Southern Belle” culture. I even plan to do more research in hopes of setting another book in the area. Now, on a sad note I have to mention something several of my fellow-authors have experienced which I am now experiencing. Since most research is done a year or more before the book is released, often businesses close or change hands in that lag time. I found out Big Chics in owned by someone else, and the owner is now living in the former B and B so we can’t stay there as planned, but I do still plan to visit Monticello, eat some of Big Chics fried chicken and take pictures of the real town of my imaginary characters!
Here’s the book blurb for Nick’s Christmas Carol in Christmas Belles of Georgia: Nick Powers worked hard to earn his college degree and his dream job. He doesn’t know what to expect when he finds out new owners will be taking over Bellingham Plantation soon. When Carol Wells comes to town, she and Nick get off to a rocky start, but soon combine forces to make Christmas a
happier time for others. Can they find their own Christmas happiness?
And here’s something about Rose: Rose has been writing for over ten years and has been published in several non-fiction anthologies and devotionals. She is happy for this to be her first fiction anthology because Christmas books are her favorites. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for 43 years, she is also mother to three grown children and their spouses and grandmother to three lovely, lively kids with one more on the way! You can reach her through her website www.rosemccauley.com or blogsite at www.rosemccauley.blogspot.com
And before I forget, check out this great website/blog called the Vessel Project. Keiki Hendrix invited me to be a guest on her column “5 things you didn’t know” about your favorite writers. Drop by if you have the time, and I’ll bet you become a regular visitor. here’s the link: http://vesselproject.com/2011/11/07/five-things-about-mary-ellis/
Have a super week.