It’s a big week for me. The Fourth of my Angel Ridge Novels is now available. Well, sort of. It’s been a week of stops and starts, but that happens in the publishing world. Usually, when the book is available, it’s available in all formats at once. But there was a small glitch this time. I’ll Be There is available, now, right this second, as an Amazon download. If you like to hold a book in your hand, you will be able to hold this one in your hand as well. But not now. Later this week. I hope! The files are being uploaded to the printer. So, soon. I promise.
In the meantime, it’s exciting to have the book available now in any format. It’s exciting every time. That feeling will never grow old. This book is special to me for several reasons. First, it was the thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College. It was also the second novel I wrote in the program. Not done to impress, but rather out of necessity, I had two publishing deadlines in the two years I was in the program. My thesis advisors were the incomparable Victoria Nelson and Darrah Cloud. What a privilege to work with two such fine writers! Second, this book is dedicated to my dear friend, Katy Zirbel. Katy’s mom has become a great fan of the Angel Ridge series. I can’t wait to send her a copy!
In order of publication, the books in the series are Only You, A Home for Christmas, What the Heart Wants, and I’ll Be There. But the inside information, just for you, is that chronologically, they go like this: What the Heart Wants, I’ll Be There, Only You and A Home for Christmas. The last two books published are prequels to the first two. Confused? Don’t be. You can really read them in any order. They were each written to stand alone.
There are challenges that come with writing a series. Some people do spreadsheets with all the information about what happened in each of the books in a series. I probably should have done that, but I didn’t. There are some discrepancies in the books, minor details really, that do not detract from the stories unless you are a stickler for detail. They’re fun books all set in a small East Tennessee town called Angel Ridge. I came up with the idea for the town when I moved into my historic farmhouse located in the Little Tennessee River Valley. It was built sometime around 1867 by W.B. Howard. He lived here with his wife, Mary Montgomery Howard, until 1900. The Little Tennessee River Valley has a rich and interesting history which includes plantation homes, paddle boats, week long extravagant parties, fast horses, private schools, flooding, a volatile relationship with the Cherokee Indian Nation, and feuds. I took all this history, and put it in the history of Angel Ridge. Those plantation homes were destroyed by a dam that flooded the river valley that is now a lake. I forced my make-believe families from those homes up into the town that formed high on a ridge, safe from the flooding. What results is an interesting mix of traditional older folks and non-traditional younger people who want to move Angel Ridge into a more modern era.
Only You and A Home for Christmas, acquaint the reader with this little town that time has forgotten. What the Heart Wants and I’ll Be There feature skeletons falling out of the closet, revealing a past that most residents of Angel Ridge would rather forget. As a writer, this allowed me to flex my writing muscles and venture into the territory of action-adventure/suspense. It was difficult, but great fun. Moving in this direction also allowed me to bring more depth to Angel Ridge and its characters.
Visit my newly revamped website to read an excerpt from each of the novels: http://www.deborahgracestaley.com
Visit http://www.amazon.come to purchase the novels of Angel Ridge.