Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bluegrass Christmas by Allie Pleiter

Please welcome guest blogger Allie Pleiter today to share about story inspiration as well as her new release "Bluegrass Christmas."

Rabbit Trails
by Allie Pleiter

Where do stories come from? Because of the . . . shall we say, unusual . . . nature of my stories, I get asked this all the time. Exactly where do opera singing cockatoos and cartoon owls and men in masks who dash around
San Francisco’s 19th century streets come from?

I’m not really sure. And part of me doesn’t want to look to closely at this process, for fear I’ll spoil the wonder. But it is part of the great, marvelous mystery of writing for me, and I’d guess, many writers. We create worlds, people, and situations out of thin air. God hands us the ball and tells us to run with it. Or maybe just to play with it for a while.

But how does the “ball” get “handed”? The best answer I can give is “rabbit trails.” I’m off to a museum today in search of just such a rabbit trail. Some little detail that gives life to the all important “what if” question from which all stories spring. I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’ll know the moment I find it. For My So-Called Love Life it was a cartoon voice, and a wondering what it was like to be behind that voice. For an upcoming book it was the true story of a postmaster’s compassion and valor during the
San Francisco earthquake. For Bluegrass Hero, it was an ad for an artisan soap. Sometimes the details are crucial story elements, other times they’re just the portal to a character’s world. I like to think I find them, but it’s really more accurate to say they find me. Or, more precisely, that I pray God sends them and He always does.

For my current book, Bluegrass Christmas, it was a toy commercial. And then I got to thinking about the song in the commercial, and the person behind the song...and so on.

No good story starts out with a sweeping plot line. Just a tiny detail, a single object, an insightful question. Add imagination, time, a set of fingers poised over a keyboard or around a pen, and stir . . .

Bluegrass Christmas released October 1st.

An Old Fashioned Christmas . . .

That’s what led new believer Mary Thorpe to start over in quaint Middleburg, Kentucky. As director of the church’s Christmas pageant, Mary’s job is to bring the townspeople together, to remind them what the season is really about. But everyone is all riled up over one very handsome man: the man daring to run against Middleburg’s popular long-standing mayor. Mac MacCarthy wants change. Mary wants things to stay as they are. Is there a happy medium? Both Mac and Mary are in for one very big Christmas surprise.

Enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. An avid knitter, harp player, and non-reformed chocoholic, she spends her days writing books, doing laundry, running carpools, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie grew up in Connecticut, holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University and currently lives in suburban Chicago. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing eight years ago has blossomed into a career that includes numerous public speaking engagements, two books on parenting; BECOMING A CHIEF HOME OFFICER and FACING EVERY MOM'S FEARS, and now novels for Steeple Hill. She is the mother of two children and, most recently, a Havanese dog named Bella.