Meet the Characters of "Alice-Ann": Aunt Bess

I "knew" Aunt Bess long before I began writing this book. I have always adored "classic" movies. Years ago, I watched the Doris Day/Frank Sinatra flick "Young At Heart," in which Ethel Barrymore played the role of a spinster aunt living with her brother and his three daughters. Aunt Jessie was sharp and sassy and full of love and no-nonsense character. Initially, I named Aunt Bess "Aunt Kay," then realized about halfway through the manuscript that "Aunt Kay" was too much like Boyd MacKay. I struggled with a new name, but when I came across "Bess," I loved it. Sharp. Sassy. No-nonsense. I wanted Aunt Bess to be loving and lovely but not someone Alice-Ann would want to end up like (namely, unm

Meet the Characters: The Cottage

Sometimes I sit back and let my characters talk. In all honestly, that's how the cottage came to be. Alice-Ann and Carlton were speaking ... getting to know each other on a deeper level than they'd known each other previously ... and Alice-Ann mentioned a house in town she liked. "A cottage, really," she said. If I go back and look at my character sketch for Alice-Ann, I can't find a single mention of "the cottage." But there it was. She'd said it and ... yep. There it was. And so (and I remember it clearly), after a day of self-editing, I decided that I liked the cottage idea as much as Alice-Ann. All mentions of the house / cottage would remain within the manuscript. I also remember the da

Meet the Characters "Carlton"

I created (and fell in love with) Carlton Hillis. When I started my work on The One True Love of Alice-Ann, I knew that Alice-Ann’s older brother, Nelson, would have two best friends, both of who went into the armed services when the U.S. went to war after December 7, 1941. Mack, of course, was Alice-Ann’s “one true love.” The problem was … he didn’t know it. Carlton was the brother of Alice-Ann’s best friend, Maeve. Both he and Mack are five years older than Alice-Ann and consider her to be a “kid sister.” When Mack and Carlton leave Bynum, Alice-Ann is a somewhat immature sixteen-year-old. But when Carlton returns, badly injured from the war, she is eighteen with the maturity of a twenty-f

Meet the Characters in "The One True Love of Alice-Ann"/Alice-Ann

As soon as the story for "Alice-Ann" created itself in my mind, I knew that one of the first things I had to do was find Alice-Ann. The One True Love of Alice-Ann opens on December 7, 1941. Alice-Ann Branch is 16 on that day. She is excited about the party her father and Aunt Bess are throwing for her that evening, because 1) her friends will be there, and 2) this is the night she plans to confess her love (crush) to her one of her brother's best friends, Boyd "Mack" MacKay, five years her senior. But as we all know, December 7, 1941 was the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and America was forced into WWII. Alice-Ann's party is ruined as is her opportunity to tell Mack how she feels. Most of

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