I used to think "prequel" was a silly word, but I'm SO past that. Now I've written one, and am a prequel believer. What a learning experience--on many levels--it has been!
I just finished writing Under the Mistletoe, a Ladies of Legend novella set in 1975. It will be released this September--separately as e-book, and as part of the print anthology Three Decades of Love.
The main characters are Charles McClain and Dorothy Robbins, the eventual parents of David McClain, my hero in 2008's Christmas novella, Christmas Collision. I learned all kinds of interesting things about Charles and Dorothy. Like, did you know Dorothy worked at Jim Bob's Saloon in Legend, Tennessee, so she could earn money to return to college and earn her pharmacy degree? Did you know she was the oldest of a houseful of kids, and drove a junk car as big as a boat? Did you know Charles served as a Marine in Vietnam and then settled in Los Angeles? Did you know how tired he'd become of his family's meddling, until Christmas 1975 when he realized it was founded in love?
Did you know the background of the house they own now? The house that's practically a character in June's release, Where Her Heart Is?
I didn't know any of those things until I started writing this story. And I'd forgotten that some of what was going on in 1975 in our world was similar to events of 2009.
Part of what I did to get into the time period was listen to the music. Jim Bob's has a busy jukebox, after all. What was playing back then? Convoy, for one, and poor Dorothy gets tired of hearing it. On my blog when I featured a Convoy youtube, Devon Matthews mentioned The Streak. Which led me to another learning experience. Last weekend I ran into a guy who'd been rumored to be one of the masked streakers back in our high school days. I hesitantly mentioned the novella setting, the song, and the rumor, and without hesitation he told me he had been a streaker. Pretty sure I was more embarrassed about it than he was.
Yep. Definitely a learning experience.
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