Currently, I’m not writing anything, but next week, I will begin to dive deeply into novel number five, picking up with Chapter 3 where I left off before coronavirus intensified the nature of my working life. The novel is still to be named, which I hate, actually. I typically have to have a working title, but now that the premise of the book has morphed into something different, the working title “Four in a Year,” is just, well, not working.
Wrapping up the semester leaves me time only to write this short blog post before getting my grades finalized and uploaded. I shouldn’t even be taking time to do this, but I needed to get this down on paper…or virtually…or whatever these blogs serve as a means to share content and ideas.
My next book centers around four characters who are each in the throes of despair and a bookstore. Then, something magical happens, and their lives will begin to turn around for the better. There are two male characters and two female characters, and I’m starting to get to know them through my character sketches I’ve been working on.
The idea for the “twist” of the novel came to me on a car ride to Delaware to visit our in-laws. On that unusual day, I did not pick up a book, a pencil, or a piece of paper. I took the entire day off, the first time I did that since the pandemic took over our lives. I let my mind drift and wander, and then, like a bolt of lightning, the idea came to me as to how the story is going to evolve.
Because all of my previous novels are very character-driven and that’s the type of writer I am, I need a hook—that thing that ties the story together. In Inn Significant, it was the grandmother’s journal in the basement. In Little Milestones, it was the tie-in to Miles and Milly from Inn Significant. In Baseball Girl, it was the love triangle between a woman who works in baseball and a sports writer and a baseball player. In Beneath the Mimosa Tree, it was the forgiveness of a mistake that happened 10 years prior.
After watching countless hours of Game of Thrones (twice over, mind you), and realizing that I love Harry Potter, I decided that while I probably can’t write like George R.R. Martin, I can throw some fantasy-like whimsy into my story rooted in people and their problems in life.
I’m looking forward to diving in next week. My brain is currently doing mental cartwheels, and I can feel my fingers itching to tap some keyboard keys.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Communication at Stevenson University. She is the author of 5 works of fiction and the co-author of one academic textbook on Event Planning. Her character-driven books are set in beautiful Maryland locations and examine the realities of the human heart. Connect with her on Instagram at stephanie.verni or on Twitter at @stephverni. Or, visit her Amazon page at Stephanie Verni, Author.