Wednesday Writers is welcoming back best-selling, award-winning author Anita Higman who will be telling us a bit about her newest book Summer’s List, a real-life four-legged character in the book, and a peek into what inspired this book. Don’t forget to read the excerpt below her post for a sneak peek.
When I read a novel, it’s always intriguing to know which elements are purely from the author’s imagination and which parts spring from real life. Well, in my new novel, Summer’s List, one of my characters—a sweet little Chihuahua mix named Laney—is indeed taken from real life. This little dog was considered a love-gift from God since she helped my daughter-in-law get through a painful season in her life. It was a true joy for me to add this beloved dog to my story, and my hope is that readers will enjoy this additional character. In fact, the experience was so much fun, I’ve decided to add another true-life pet to my next novel.
Another popular behind-the-scenes question is, “How did this story come about?” I guess you could say that it all started with the Little Golden Books. I remember those little gems with great fondness. My mother read some of them to me when I was little, and I recall especially loving the fairytale ones. Now as an adult, looking back, I believe they had a profound effect on me. Especially Cinderella. I have been told my novels read like modern-day fairytales, and I am hoping my newest book will have that same fun feel to it. There are no glass slippers, but the story does come with two wicked stepbrothers, a golden-hearted hero, a princess-style heroine, of course, the all-important happily-ever-after. I hope you enjoy the story!
By Anita Higman
Life and love keep going awry for Summer Snow, until her grandmother sends her on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree—a kind and quirky young man from Summer’s past. With Laney the Chihuahua along for the ride, a childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?
The engagement ring was stuck—just like her life. Summer glanced toward the heavens and sighed the sigh of love gone awry. Again.
Martin, where are you now, and what would you think of me? Here she was, thirty-three years old, and still floundering in every part of life that mattered. In Martin’s fanciful vernacular, he’d probably say that her life had gone the way of monsters. How true. And so went the mental ramblings of Summer Snow as she continued to twist Elliot’s engagement ring on her finger, trying to pull it off. She looked across the table at her fiancé and said, “Honestly, Elliot, you don’t need a wife. What you need is a good PR person.”
Elliot smoothed a crimp in the linen tablecloth. “You’d think a five-star restaurant could have wrinkle free linens.” He emitted a slow breath that strangled itself into a groan. “Now, no more talk of leaving me, my pearl. You’re going to make the perfect senator’s wife. You’re articulate. You’re beautiful. You can hold a smile for hours.” He grinned. “With a few tweaks, you could be my Summer Eleanor Roosevelt. And with you by my side I now have an eight point lead over my opponent,” he added in his pretend British accent, the one he used when he was kidding around. “Come on. You know I’m joking.”
“Right.” Summer’s wry expression made him laugh.
A waiter came by—bristling with pomp—and refilled Elliot’s goblet with Pellegrino.
Then he whirled off amidst the live harp music, which floated around them as did the scents of fine cuisine and French perfume—and the smell of money—old money.
Elliot turned his attention back to her. “Seriously now, you will be part of this noble endeavor to represent the great state of Texas.” He raised his hands as if addressing the masses. “It gives me the chills to think about it. I can almost hear the theme music from “Chariots of Fire” revving up in the background. Don’t you hear it too?” He tilted his Harvard-educated head to dramatize his point.
No matter how green-eyed and Greek-angled Elliot was or how much he could make her laugh, the hour of reckoning had come. “As much as I care about you,” Summer said, “I don’t have the chills, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t hear the music.”
Her fiancé’s eyes dimmed, and he placed his hand over his heart as if she’d pierced him through.
“Please, Elliot, anything but that look…that Bambi’s-mother-has-been-shot-in-the-meadow look.”
He chuckled. “Good one.”
The ring finally loosened its hold on Summer’s finger, and it sailed upward and then plopped into Elliot’s personal patty of Lone Star shaped butter. “Sorry.” Invariably, when she got nervous, crazy stuff happened. Today it was merely the butter, but if she married Elliot, it would mean embarrassing herself—and Elliot—in front of the media. It could happen. It would happen. But that wasn’t really the reason she had to give his ring back. She curled up her toes in her high heels. “And I’m sorry I can’t be everything you and your voters want me to be. Truly.”
He retrieved the diamond ring and wiped it off. “I just want what every man wants, my sweets…a woman who looks like you do, and a woman who’s also so totally into me that she’s willing to give up her whole life to meet all my needs.” Elliot’s twinkle was back.
“Cute, but I refuse to be moved this time by your sense of humor or your silver tongue.”
“Ouch.” He squeezed his wedge of lime into his Pellegrino.
A spray of juice hit her eye, which made her twitch for a moment.
Elliot didn’t seem to notice, so he bulldozed forth, “You think I’m trying to change you, but I’m not. Well, I just have that one tiny demand.”
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has been writing for thirty years and has forty books published. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art.
Anita and her husband are building a storybook home in the woods and plan to move there by the end of the year. A few of Anita’s favorite things are good movies, fairytales, traveling, gardening, exotic teas, and brunch with her gal friends.
Please check out Anita’s latest novel, Summer’s List, through Moody Publishers. Feel free to drop by her website at www.anitahigman.com or connect with her on her Facebook Reader Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnitaHigman. She would love to hear from you!
To learn more about Anita and her other books check out her interview on Wednesday Writer posts.