Monday, December 17, 2007

Behind the Scenes in Orchard Hill

This Wednesday, December 19, “Saving Gracie” the first in the Orchard Hill Romance series will be released. I’ve already shared my blurb and excerpt, so this time, I’d like to tell you a little bit about how the series came to be.

It started with the fruits of the spirit - you know Galatians 5:22 – “But he fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” I wanted to write a series of stories, with one to highlight each virtue. For reasons I don’t have time to go into, it didn’t work for me.

But from these words I started playing with titles and came up with things like “Keeping Faith” and “Finding Joy.” I also took a few other bible verses and made them into a “play on words” type of title. For example I got “Considering Lily” from "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:27. And I bet you can guess where “Entertaining Angel” came from.

So what was I going to do with these titles? This was starting backwards. I had titles with no stories. First of all, I found a common setting for them. Since I love the principal of “write what you know” I chose to create a small town in Wisconsin, Orchard Hill. Believe me, I am writing what I know there.

Then I decided to center each story around a holiday. No particular reason for this other than I thought of nine holidays that would cover a year’s worth of stories. And holidays are fun.

Now I was getting somewhere. I came up with short synopses of what each story would be about, and I divided them into groups of three. The first three stories center around the downtown and the young business professionals there. The second set of stories centers around the school and its employees. (Ironically, these are the summer stories.) The final set of stories centers around the church and the activities going on there. But something was still missing.

That’s when Pansy and Misty butted in. These two ladies are rivals in the art of matchmaking, and enemies to the bitter end. First of all, they barged into my story and challenged each other to see who could make the most matches in a year! Now they are squabbling and sabotaging each other right through the series, alternatively helping and hindering cupid’s work. They’ve taken over and there’s nothing I can do about it!

But they’re going to get their comeuppance, because these ladies are about to get hit with cupid’s arrows themselves. Before the end of the series these women will find themselves falling in love with some very surprising men, burying the hatchet and coming together to concentrate all their matchmaking skills on the hardest target of all – young, handsome and definitely set on staying single – Pastor Isaac of the Orchard Hill Community Church!

I hope you’ll come along to spend a year in Orchard Hill with Pansy, Misty and nine special couples. I promise, it won’t be dull! For more information, visit my website or the new Orchard Hill Hilights blog.

Kara Lynn Russell


Georgiana said...

That's a neat idea! I love hearing how others develop ideas for their books.

Georgiana said...
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Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

This sounds like an absolutely adorable series!

Having characters barge in and take over....don't you just hate that (or love it!?)

Aggressive, outspoke characters always make the story or stories so much more interesting.

Good luck and God's blessings on Orchard Hill!