I'm wrapping up the Hometown Hero Week with this final post, a sort of tribute to my hometown. I'm also announcing the winner of the signed copies of Hope Tarr's THE HAUNTING and Elaine Fox's GUYS & DOGS and MUST LOVE DOUG.
Here's the deal though - the "hero" in these books is not a man from Fredericksburg, at least in my mind. The main male lead is sometimes from very far away from Fredericksburg, either in miles or time, actually. But that's ok. Because as you may (or may not) have guessed - the "Hero" in the books that I'm featuring during HHW is really not a man at all - it's all about the town.
The idea of a themed week, featuring books that feature my hometown, came to me a while back, when I saw an article about Hope Tarr in my local paper, then picked up MUST LOVE DOUG in the store. Both of the books are set in Fredericksburg, both are actually set in "Old Towne", and I've really come to love that place even more this past year. I have some really great friends (like Hannah and Burton) that live in the Old Towne area, on historic Caroline Street, and they have shown me a side of the 'Burg that I never would have imagined. From private "Founder's Day" parties (that coincided with my husband's birthday), to special events at the Rec Center where the Dixie Jims play at least once a month, to different pubs and restaurants that hold 'open mic' nights virtually every night of the week for local musicians, I've been welcomed and encouraged to expand my horizons. Not everyone is lucky enough to have good friends introduce them to such a cool scene, I realize that. But I've still never met a stranger on Monday's at The Tav (or Colonial Tavern, Home of the Irish Brigade, as the sign on the building says), or Thursday's at Happy Endings. And this past week, I was heartily welcomed to Tuesday nights at Bistro Bethem (or The Bistro, to most). Featuring a superb menu and a full wine list, with amazing local artist's work displayed on their walls, The Bistro is yet another place to hear hometown musician's playing their hearts out for their very loyal fans. Of course, with my friends Hannah and Jim, and my new friend Hope, I had quite an amazing time!
Some people have love affairs with people, and I understand that. I have one with my own hero, my husband Shane. Some people have love affairs with a job, or an object. I've seen those enough to understand that. And some people have love affairs with a city. If ever I were to leave my husband (which is highly unlikely!), it wouldn't be for another man. It would be for a second floor walk-up, open floor planned, studio apartment, with a claw-footed tub, built in bookshelves, and floor to ceiling windows that open onto a balcony overlooking Caroline Street. Yes, my "other" love affair is with my 'Burg, and both Ms. Tarr and Ms. Fox do a marvelous job bringing my 'Burg to life in their books.
When I went in search of GUYS & DOGS last spring, it really was for research. I was starting to get really serious about my writing, reading all sorts of books about craft, style, technique, voice, and I wanted to see how an established author handled setting. What better way to see that than by reading a book supposedly set in my hometown. I'd be able to see how much liberty she took with the place, how much she let the town enter into her story, if the town actually became part of the story or was just backdrop. It was eye-opening to me, seeing my beloved 'Burg in the pages of a book. Over a year later, having grown even more familiar, more intimate, with my town, reading MUST LOVE DOUG and THE HAUNTING was even better than that long-ago research read. The love for my 'Burg has seeped into my own writing already, and seeing two other skilled women navigate and detail the streets and feelings of my town has given me encouragement.
Thanks Hope and Elaine, for doing such a wonderful job of showing the world what a wonderful place this town is!
As for the winner - danetteb get in touch with me for your books. Please e-mail me at deenddeedish @ sbcglobal . net (remove the spaces, ok?) and put "dee, I'm a Hometown winner" in the subject line so I can find your e-mail easier, and get your books out quicker. Make sure to include your mailing address!
Keep Turning Those Pages,