Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today it’s Christmas in June as I welcome author Ann Brodeur and her debut novel Snowbound in Winterberry Falls to the blog. In addition to talking about characters, Ann has an excerpt from her book.
When I started writing what would turn out to be my publishing debut novel, Snowbound in Winterberry Falls, I looked to friends and acquaintances for inspiration in developing characters.
My heroine, Stephanie is a Type 1 diabetic. Diabetes is a disease that many members of my extended family have so it was natural to write about. Tilly Miller is the cousin of the hero, and quite outspoken when it comes to caring about Jason. She is fashioned after my best friend – the salt of the earth and someone I can trust completely.
One character I had fun creating was Mrs. Sweeney. She’s a culmination of several women in my life, many of whom have passed. She’s a refreshing character who speaks her mind without being confrontational.
Have fictional characters reminded you of someone you know in real life?
Snowbound in Winterberry Falls
by Ann Brodeur
Unwrapping their past – one secret at a time.
Owning her own PR firm is all reporter Stephanie Clark wants for Christmas, but the idea of running a prestigious election campaign in the country’s capital throws her stomach into knots. A last minute vacation road trip to focus and seek God’s direction for her life ends up in disaster when she gets caught in the worst snowstorm to hit Vermont in over a decade, crashing her into a small town and the one person she’d rather forget.
Former photojournalist Jason Miller hadn’t planned on being solely responsible for saving his family business from financial ruin. He’s barely keeping the newspaper in print, his News Editor has gone AWOL during the town’s most celebrated holiday festival, and reports of missing Christmas decorations have everyone on edge.
When a desperate knock at the newsroom door brings a ghost from Christmas past back into his life, can Jason make up for his prior behavior without breaking his promise to Stephanie’s father? Will Stephanie’s quest to solve the town’s Christmas caper—and uncover the truth about Jason’s disappearance—cost her everything she’s ever wanted?
Here’s a fun scene starring Mrs. Sweeney during her first visit with Stephanie:
“Oh, dear. I fear I’ve made you uncomfortable.” She clicked her tongue and patted the back of Stephanie’s hand. The older woman reclined in her rocking chair, the rhythmic sway of the chair squeaking with every push of her feet. A walking cane clattered to the floor nearby, and Stephanie righted it again, earning a beaming smile.
“Like you, dear, I love a good story.” Her mouth relaxed, her clear blue eyes seeming to focus on a distant memory. “Do you know I was in love with a newspaper man once?” Her eyes twinkled. She rested her gray head against the back of the chair. “Of course, Mother didn’t approve. He was a nosy busybody who made it his business to report on every Tom, Dick, and Harry’s escapades and then charged people to read it.” The girlish laugh brought an image to Stephanie’s mind of a much younger woman.
“What happened?” Stephanie shifted on the edge of the bed where she sat.
“I listened to Mother. I didn’t marry Charlie. I married Matthias.” Her expression softened at the mention of her husband’s name. “Matthias was a good and kind man. He owned the bank, so Mother was pleased with the match.” Her face moved through a series of emotions Stephanie couldn’t quite decipher.
“Matthias and I had some good times together, but sometimes I wondered what my life would have been if I’d married Charlie.” Tenderness infused her voice at the mention of her long-gone newspaper man.
“Ach. Look at me. I’m such a ninny when it comes to sappy romance. Charlie could woo a pig.” Mrs. Sweeney paused her rocking and sipped from her cup once more. “God’s plan was for me to marry Matthias, not Charlie. God gave us such a beautiful life.”
She replaced her tea things on the small, round table next to her and leaned on her cane, wobbling to her feet. Stephanie stood and braced the older woman’s feeble arms and waited for her to steady. Mrs. Sweeney squeezed Stephanie’s arm and hobbled to the door. She shut it, clicked the lock, and stood with her back to Stephanie for a moment before shuffling around on her heel. Stephanie raised an eyebrow and focused on the curious woman.
“I’ve read your article, Ms. Clark, and there are some details missing that are essential to getting your story right.” Her face grew stern, the picture of a school Marm. “I have a confession to make, but you must promise to help me achieve my ends and to not print a word of truth until after Christmas Day.”
Want to read more?
About the Author:
ANN BRODEUR is an award-winning novelist who writes inspirational and contemporary romances offering sweet hope and happy endings.
When she’s not reading, writing, chasing after her kids or enjoying long chats with her husband, Ann can be found drinking coffee. That’s been reheated several times throughout the day. She aspires to drink a hot beverage in one sitting.