Writing the Follow-Up to “Beneath the Mimosa Tree”

Photo Credit: Jennifer Jeffrey

Last weekend when I was in Miami and “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” won a bronze for contemporary romance fiction in the Readers Favorite contest, I was in a bit of shock. I couldn’t believe it. Contemporary Romance. Bronze Medal. It was my first book, but it was a long, long time in the making. I felt a little bit like Jeannette Walls when she admitted she wrote the first draft of “The Glass Castle” twenty years ago. The same holds true for me. I drafted “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” as a short story prior to it becoming a novel. However, all I kept thinking to myself was: I’ve got a lot of work to do when I get home.

I’m working diligently on the follow-up to “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.” I’ve been cooking on it during National Novel Writing month. The novel is about a girl who works in baseball.

No, she’s not me.

Yes, she’s pieces of my friends and me, of those of us women who also worked in baseball.

But no, it’s not my story.

However, it will have “things” in it that I experienced in that world of sports and players and publicity.

Anyway, back to the notion of contemporary romance: This book keeps leaning in the same direction as “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.” It appears I cannot get away from stories of love, loss, and growth. Therefore, the new novel is progressing along those lines.

I am writing a tough part right now—developing a character who is simultaneously likeable and unlikeable. We draw inspiration from those we know or have known in our lifetimes when we write characters. We can’t help it. Good writers write what they KNOW, and so I’m in the mad throws of developing this particular character. He is not an easy one to draw.

There will be challenges with this novel that I did not face with “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.” My main character has a lot of depth—and issues. She is gullible and guarded. She is optimistic, yet full of fear. She makes poignant observations yet cannot see what’s before her.

I’m looking forward to some time between semesters to do a little more writing on this thing—this follow up to my first novel—and we shall see how it develops.

Only a hopeless romantic really knows…where it will go.

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