Tuesday, April 7, 2015

LOVE SPRINGS ETERNAL by Catherine Lanigan and Rula Sinara

Catherine's Daffodils
Catherine:
Inspiration for authors comes from every nook and cranny, every glance from a stranger’s spoken words, news headlines and most often, the most common of life occurrences. It’s spring now, or supposed to be. It’s still snowing off and on here in the Great Lakes region of the US. One day my daffodils pop up, the next, snow covered, they hang their heads. As I watch the frost-burned grass struggle to don its green spring coat, I think of all those old sayings my mother used to repeat. “In spring, a young man’s fancy turns to love.” “Love springs eternal.”

There is something to this renewed sense of hope, enthusiasm for a new season that revs up the synapses in my brain and suddenly, my fingers are flying across the keyboard. My characters are just a bit more emotional and willing to take chances on love that they might not have had the courage to do a few weeks ago, buried under the boring monotony of winter when I was battling cabin fever.

This revelation makes me ask the question, how much does the author’s mood affect their characters? I mean, on a regular daily basis if one throws plot structure aside and deals only with those scenes that seem mundane, getting the heroine from here to there, be honest. As you glance out the window, are you off in your “creative plane of existence” or are you captivated by the spring scenes going on? Or is your mood dour, depressed, humdrum watching pregnant bare winter branches lie in wait to birth those glorious blossoms which just might bring a smile to your heroine’s face?

This is the weeping Crab Apple tree outside my writing window. I can’t tell you the inspiration I've received from this glorious beauty.

Catherine's Weeping Crab Apple
My first line in LOVE SHADOWS proves it. “Spring exploded outside Sarah’s kitchen window as pink crab-apple blossoms unfurled their petals along a long crooked branch.”

Still, there are times in our lives when even extravagances from nature can’t lift any of us. I proved this with Luke’s reaction to spring at the end of Chapter Two. 

“Getting out of the truck, he didn’t notice the enormous flowering crab-apple tree he’d parked beneath, nor the blanket of pink petals under his truck’s tires. He didn’t notice the warm spring breeze or the scent of purple French lilacs that formed a screen along the chain-link fence that separated the parking lot from the lumberyard next door.

Luke didn’t notice much of any of the beauty around him. All he knew was that he had to face another day of his life without his wife and without the only love he would ever know.”


For the most part, I embrace spring with a yelp and jig. After thirty-five years living in Houston, Scottsdale, Arizona and Los Angeles, I forgot what winter in the Midwest and North was like. These very long winters were fun when I was dragging my American Flyer sled or a tin “saucer” sled up another hill on the golf course. I have to admit that now, the long journey from New Year’s to Easter feels like a pilgrimage of the penitent.

Therefore, it has been a recent revelation to me that the seasons and weather—like thunderstorms—do influence my stories. I love your stories about Africa in The Promise of Rain and After the Silence was mostly set in America. Did the change of seasons affect your characters, Rula?

Rula:
Aw, thanks! You know, I don't think I was consciously aware of it while writing, but now that you bring it up, I think seasons and weather definitely impact my writing process and perhaps my characters too! 


Out of curiosity, I just checked my writing log and, as it turns out, I began writing both stories during the same season they happen to begin. Coincidence or inspiration outside my window? Now, in writing AFTER THE SILENCE, I hit some writing delays, which put me 'off season', and when that happens I sometimes follow I tip I once read in Stephen King's On Writing. I close the curtains. 

Now, I'm a huge nature lover and I can't follow that tip all the time. I can't write in a closed box. The closest I get to that is if I'm writing at night and it's simply too dark to see outside, but if I'm struggling to write a winter scene and it's sunny out, I'll block the sun and focus on memory visuals of snow. I did have to do that a few times while writing this book. Catherine, you've made me notice that much of the story takes place in the cold of winter, a season that does indeed mirror how closed off and hardened hero Ben Corallis and his daughter are due to the sudden death of his wife and her mother. 

Usually when I'm writing, like Catherine, I draw energy and inspiration from looking outside my window or even taking a short walk outside if I'm 'stuck' in a story problem. In fact, I took a short walk today and spring is springing! The golden weeping willow I look out on from my office window is beginning to bud. It still looks a bit sad, but just wait until the leaves wake up. I've always loved weeping willows. Something about the flowing branches makes my imagination dance. 
Rula's Weeping Willow beginning to bud
Hmmm...are weeping trees emotional? Is it a coincidence that both of us have weeping varieties outside the window where we write? 

And my apricot is in full bloom!

Rula's apricot tree
And we all know that April showers bring May flowers and Catherine has a new book blooming! So Catherine, tell us about what you have in store for your May release.

Catherine:
My May release, KATIA’S PROMISE kicked off April 1 with ads for my giveaways on www.FreeBookFriday.com. The giveaways will be announced on May 1. My blog tour starts with the cover reveal and information about the blog tour on April 1 at www.Prismbooktours.com. The blog tour runs from April 20-April 30. Sign up for a date on the tour because I’m giving away a $100.00 Amazon gift card and three copies of KATIA’S PROMISE.

Dreamy eyes!
Also, be sure to stay tuned to the Heartwarming blog so you don't miss the Spring Fling Giveaway announcement coming soon!

What is your opinion of the changing of the seasons? Do you find that the day outside influences your writing or your mood throughout the day or week? Or as an author, are you one who stays so focused that nothing can jog you out of your zone?

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25 comments:

  1. I'm here with you (in Indiana) loving every spring moment, Catherine--though I'd like a dollop of sunshine with mine. I'm not sure how much impact weather has on my writing. I love your tree and your apricot blooms, too, Rula. Good luck with the book!

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    1. Liz, I love it when the sun comes out after a spring rain. Especially if a rainbow forms! We've had quite a few double rainbows :).

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    2. No rainbows here in Northwestern Indiana yet, but I'm hopeful!!!

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  2. We don't get much of a change on the west coast, but I love the warm rain of spring. Best of luck with your latest release, Catherine!

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    1. Ah, but Mel, California weather is so gorgeous, is makes up for any season changes, doesn't it? Your beaches are wonderful.

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    2. Hi, Mel! I lived in LA for about six years and I LOVE the spring there. All those roses on the picket fences in Marina del Rey! And the fragrance. You lucky girl!

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  3. Lovely photos ladies. I'm sure the weather like many other things impacts our stories. I recall listening to a mystery writer once who said the reason so many writers in Seattle write mystery books is because of the long winter rains. Don't know if it's true.

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    1. Roz, that's interesting! Hmmm gloomy weather begets gloomy/murder books? I can see that happening lol.

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  4. Rula and Catherine, great post! Loving the arrival of spring! But when it comes to writing, I think I'm a little distracted by the nice weather. It makes me want to go outside for a walk, or take a bike ride, or go for a hike, or work in the yard....when I should be writing(: But at the same time the sun makes me happy and that makes me more productive in virtually every way!

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    1. OMG, Carol, we're so much alike! I could live outside in the spring and spend every second gardening or walking just to take it all in. Plus, I have 'gardening deadlines' too lol. Seriously, certain veggies need to get in the ground on time if I want a productive vegetable garden by summer. Not complaining at all, but it makes for long nights to make up word count lol. I need a patio cover or gazebo so that I can type while sitting outside (to shield screen glare and rain)...

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    2. Ah! You are both so right. I spent 3 hours Easter out just raking and puttering. It's too soon to plant around here, but the daffodils are really coming up now. And I agree with Rula, If I don't get those tomato plants out there by May 1 , I'm doomed. Or feel that way. I love making my tomato basil soup from my own tomatoes!!

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  5. Thanks to both of you for the beautiful photos. The weeping crab apple is gorgeous, and that weeping willow is going to be. Our neighbor has one that gives us much pleasure. I think I know I've hit my stride in a book when I can tap into the character's mood and not mine - I finally feel as though I know them - because I don't, for a couple of chapters. Then I'm suddenly inside their skin. Inhabiting their moods - even when it's sadness - makes me happy. We're a weird bunch, aren't we? Congratulations on your books, Ladies, and your entertaining post.

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    1. Muriel, I'm a treeaholic and have planted at least 80 since we moved to our place in 2006. This month, I already planted 5 more and now Catherine's photo of her weeping crab apple is making me want one! I am to tree shopping as some women are to shoes and purses LOL.

      I love my weeping willow and it looks so elegant and lush when it's all leafed out. One year, we had such bad winds/storm that the branches stood up almost vertically and danced wildly (maybe we were in a tornado warning and I didn't know it). I told my kids it made me think of the womping willow in Harry Potter.

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    2. Muriel, this is where I knew Rula and I were probably sisters from some past life. I have a long list of new trees to plant this year. A new dogwood, two Japanese maples, about a dozen new evergreens to replace the ones the deer ate all winter!! We don't have that much yard, but it's filled with trees!

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  6. I love these spring-inspired posts! Along with the wonderful photos. :) I do find that if I'm writing in the same season a story is set, it's somehow easier to become inspired about the setting. Lovely thoughts, ladies!

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    1. I agree, Cerella. It does make it easier!

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    2. I agree with you both! I think the seasons help me write.

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  7. I love the weeping willow. When I was a kid, I played under one and it was my house, my fort, my hiding place. It was also where I went when I was sad because I thought it was sad, too. Even now when I look at one, for a brief time, I feel its sadness.

    Congrats on your books! Loved this post.

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    1. Patricia, I played and read under one as a kid too! It was like a secret clubhouse or fort, as you said. I've had a special place in my heart for them since childhood and knew I had to have one so that it could embrace my children too :).

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    2. Out on the golf course across from my house are huge willows that I used to play under when I was a kid. I always believed that no matter how much I was bullied or got my heart broken, the willows would comfort me. I was right.

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  8. I love your post and the pictures of the lovely trees!! Those flowering trees are so beautiful, and when I see a weeping willow it always makes me smile. When it comes to weather I feel like Carol Ross. When it's nice outside it makes me want to get out there and go sightseeing or walking or something. The weather can distract me from wanting to stay inside and read, so sometimes I take my book to the park and read there. Weather definitely impacts my mood. I can appreciate how writers must contend with this, and Stephen King's advice seems very practical.

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    1. I'm with you, Laurie, on wanting to be outside in spring :). Plus, I've been a daydreamer since childhood...quite easily distracted by nature beckoning me from a window. My imagination would take off...until I'd hear my teacher's voice calling my name ;). Now, as a writer, if family members accuse me of staring out a window too long, I can tell them I'm busy working ;).

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    2. I'm guilty of the same. I see what's going on outside and too many times, I just can't wait to race outside and play in the dirt. Plant bulbs, weed, cut flowers. It's discipline to make myself finish the chapter first. THEN I can go play.

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  9. Ladies, your pictures have me longing for spring to get here in Chicago! I love spring, it's my favorite season. The story I am currently writing is set in this season. I am sure I will be drawing from things outside my window very soon :)

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  10. I am in desperate needs of the basics: When I wanted to use my lash glue for a tutorial I realized it was completely off. Like stinking and brown and not very nice. So I need to get me some new glue before I start to practice.

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