Saturday, July 9, 2016

        SIT DOWN SATURDAY WITH CATHERINE LANIGAN
                                     SOPHIE’S PATH

            Blessedly, I never get tired of talking about my SHORES OF INDIAN LAKE series. SOPHIE’S PATH is number seven in the series and like the others, it can be read as a stand alone as well.
            When I was devising and constructing my town of Indian Lake, based on my hometown of La Porte, Indiana, (though with a much prettier downtown and better paint jobs), as I laid out streets and drew maps, the characters came to me as I named the streets. (I know, what am I? A City Planner?)  When I envisioned Maple Boulevard the main residential street,  I started visualizing the houses and I would say, “Now, who lives in this house?”  My central characters to the town were and are, Mrs. Beabots, of course, living in her three story Victorian mansion with it’s Widow’s Walk and useless third story ballroom. Of course, she’s had the ballroom renovated into an apartment that she rents out from time to time to new characters in subsequent books, yet to be written. 
            However, one of the first characters that roared to the forefront in my roster of “Townsfolk” was Sophie Mattuchi.  I didn’t know her story but I knew I wanted a girl that the town gossiped about and which all of the stories about her were untrue. Many of us have been the victim of lies and jealousies. Sophie was considered the “town flirt”.  In my second book in the series, “Heart’s Desire”, Sophie made her debut as the woman who blatantly went after the hero. Sophie chopped off her beautiful dark hair and streaked it blonde and went on a diet and lost 8 pounds, all in the pursuit of landing Nate Barzonni. Nate, of course, only had eyes for Maddie Strong. In "A Fine Year for Love", Sophie made a pass at Nate’s brother, Gabe. Gabe was polite, but turned her down.  By this time, I was fascinated with Sophie and she was telling me her story while my other heroines were vying for attention.


      Of all my heroines, Sophie was the one with the most contradictions. She flirted, but she didn’t want men. She came on to guys, but tossed them back after a single date---if she even sat still for a whole evening.  I also didn’t want a heroine this time with some massive “issue” or fear. I didn’t want her to be that woman who avoided men because of some past trauma or abuse. Sophie is dedicated to her career but her motivator is that she genuinely wants to help people. She doesn’t have time for men because she’s saving lives.
     I wanted a woman with unbelievable heart—generous, kind to a fault and the kind of caring that embraced anyone and everyone who suffered physically or emotionally. 
     When Jack enters her life, as a patient in the ER after a car accident, her heart is open to help him. His is almost immediately closed off.
      That’s where little FRENCHIE, the six pound Yorkie Poo, came to the rescue. Frenchie is the magnet that puts Sophie and Jack together and keeps reeling them back.
            I adore animals in books both when I write and reading about them. If you caught my FEAR OF FALLING in March, you were introduced to Rowan, the Thoroughbred, who stole that show, I’ll tell you. Even one of the reviews wanted to know where was Rowan!  Sadly, Rowan was our horse and just passed away last August. He’s buried in Texas where I used to live. In LOVE SHADOWS, everyone got to meet Beau.


            
           
            These were my magnificent Golden Retrievers. Beau, Bebe and Beau Jr.  They all live on the Rainbow Bridge now and are waiting for me there. I see them sometimes in dreams.
And below, this is Frenchie, from SOPHIE’S PATH.



Every author takes their inspiration where they find it. Sometimes in odd places, but I like that my animal inspirations are part of my life.  On Saturday  I posted a blog about all the July Heartwarming Authors and our love of dogs.  Take the time to scroll back and check out some of these great dogs.
On the subject of inspiration is that of one of my “causes” for which I’ve donated time, effort and volunteered. Most of you know about my stance on domestic violence and my book, THE EVOLVING WOMAN which was a labor of love to compile stories of courageous women who, though victims of domestic abuse, not only survived, but triumphed with their lives. My other, not-so-well-known book was for the NotMYkid foundation in Phoenix; a book for their own particular use.  For a year, I interviewed over 54 addicts and their families and related their stories of how they became addicted and how they changed their lives and triumphed. In SOPHIE’S PATH, the character of Jeremy is an addict whom Sophie desperately tries to save. His story is real, heart-wrenching and pitiable. It is the essence of sadness of our time in history, where there comes a point when little can be done, or for,  severe addicts. Sophie, and those like her, are the true heroes of our age.

     To get you even further acquainted with Sophie, Jack Carter, and of course, Frenchie, July 4th marks the beginning of our TLC Tour.



Kate James, Amy Vastine and Karen Rock join me in this fun summer blast.  Check us out at


In addition we have a splendiferous FACEBOOK PARTY scheduled for July 20 from 2:00PM (EasternTime) until 4:30PM. We are honored to have Brenda Novak, Elizabeth Heiter and Roz Denny Fox joining us as hosts.  We have all kinds of giveaways, totes from the authors and books galore.


  





     On FRIDAY, July 29,  at 1:00 PM  (Central Time)  Amy Vastine will join me in the Indiana studios live where we will be guests on THE LAKESHORE RADIO  89.1 FM program “A LOOK AT THE ARTS” with Tom Lounges.  Kate James will be on the call from Toronto and Karen Rock will join us from her home as well. So, all four of us will be on the air! http://www.lakeshorepublicmedia.org/radio in case you want to stream live. The show will be archived as well. So don’t miss us!

My own PRISM BOOK TOUR starts July 18th and runs into August. http://tlcbooktours.com/2016/04/summer-lovin-tour-julyaugust-2016/



If you miss any of these, you can find the first two chapters of SOPHIE'S PATH on wattpad.    @wattpad:wattpad.com/story/70261823…pic.twitter.com/IoGvUWf2WE 

I wish all the Heartwarmers a memorable summer.  I hope to see many of you in San Diego for the Romance Writers of America Convention.  God bless!









            

35 comments:

  1. Catherine, I love reading the behind-the-scenes account of how your wonderful stories came to be, and this post is no exception! You tackle real-life, serious issues in a caring, sensitive manner in your books. Your readers can't help but feel emotionally and intellectually satisfied at the end.

    As for animals in books or in our lives . . . well, you know my view on that! :-)

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    1. Thank you so much, Kate! For me, it's important to shine the spotlight on situations and conditions, be they social, psychological or physical, that afflict us all. Even if we are not going through the emotional and financial turmoils and burdens brought about by addiction to drugs, alcohol or eating disorders, we know or are related to people who are. Being equipped to better understand and deal with these individuals helps them and us. The blight of illegal drug trafficking is growing across America and into Canada at an alarming rate. In my next book, DANGER ZONE, due out in February, I take this story, begun in SOPHIE'S PATH, to the next phase...that of the legal side of the concern, with the police who risk their lives to stop the drug traders.

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  2. Fantastic post and so many exciting things in store!! I have the party and the radio show marked on my calendar and can't wait to listen in!! I love your Lakeshore series and your writing. Your characters are always true to life and stories, gripping.

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    1. Hi, Rula!
      Kate, Amy, Karen and I have truly concocted a sparkling July for everyone. Our TLC tour which is going on right now, doesn't end until the first week in August! I pick up after that with my PRISM BOOK TOUR...and rightfully, it's nearly ALL ABOUT FRENCHIE!
      Thanks for stopping by today!

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  3. Thank you for writing Sophie's Path! It's a beautiful story and I can't wait your other stories! I really love Frenchie and her sweet nature.

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    1. Evelyn! How are you? Thank you for coming to visit me on the blog! I have to tell you, because you'll love this. I named the little dog, Frenchie, after the Claude Rains role in CASABLANCA. That last line, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," is, to me, one of the best lines in filmdom. LOVE IT. I have a friend here in town who has been very ill for seven months. The doctors could not figure out what was wrong. On 4th of July, she gave a party but in the middle of it, had an "episode" and had to go to bed We took turns sitting with her until she was better. Finally she was all right and was able to join us for desert. She said she looked around the table and thought, "What a wonderful, interesting and loving group of friends I have."
      Again I was reminded of a movie "It's A Wonderful Life."
      THAT is the underlying thematic structure of SHORES OF INDIAN LAKE. All these people are friends. They care for each other, come to the aid of one another. They are involved---in a good way--- in other's lives and in life.
      I've always felt romance should be a best friendship with bubbling, intoxicating effervescence!

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    2. That's very cool, sometimes people we never expect become our friends like how Sophie felt before. I'm always touched on this small town thing, when someone is in difficulty, you have a lot of friends who would be there for you.

      I loved the story of small town romance that's why I love yours. There are so many parts of Sophie's Path that made me smile from their sweetness.
      Thank you for sharing your experience today!

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    3. That's very cool, sometimes people we never expect become our friends like how Sophie felt before. I'm always touched on this small town thing, when someone is in difficulty, you have a lot of friends who would be there for you.

      I loved the story of small town romance that's why I love yours. There are so many parts of Sophie's Path that made me smile from their sweetness.
      Thank you for sharing your experience today!

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  4. Lovely as always, Catherine! And so is Frenchie! Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

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  5. Hi, Loree! Thank you for checking in to see my lovely doggies! I hope your weekend is a fun-filled one as well!

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  6. Catherine! Anxious to meet Sophie and walk with her on her path. It's wonderful that you can shine the light on important issues while entertaining. I served on the board of our local women's shelter for a few years and the stories were sometimes depressing and exasperating, but so, so worth it when there were clients willing to fight for survival and do whatever it took to free themselves and their children from whatever shackled them. And the heroic women - and men - who did everything possible to help them triumph. I truly believe life is all about getting each other through - sounds like the philosophy at Indian lake. Congratulations on such a stellar career.

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  7. Thanks for the sneak preview. I love that your books all have depth, heart and soul (and animals) Can't wait to find time to read all of this month's books. And I have Brenda's last one waiting to be read. Right now more people need to find a quiet corner and read love stories.

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    1. Roz, isn't it the truth? I need to figure out how to exist on less sleep, I guess. But there's so much to do that gets in the way of my TBR pile. It would help if I weren't such a slow reader, but I have a touch of dyslexia. Runs in the family. Thanks for stopping by!!!

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  8. Muriel, coming from you this is high praise. Thank you.
    Many years ago, I wrote a book called "The Evolving Woman" which was a compilation of true stories of women who had endured domestic violence. I went around the country on book tour for a month visiting women's shelters and different organizations in big cities and small towns. Each time I heard what I thought was a shocking story, the next day I heard something worse. The people who give of their time, energy and heart to help others in such a selfless way, is admirable and we don't thank them enough.
    So, thank you, Muriel for being on that board. For changing the life of one more woman, and possibly her child. None of us know the ripple effect just a single word can have...both positive and negative---to another's well-being. Being diligent to the needs of others is a gift of the expansive heart. That you have, dear. God bless.

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  9. I loved hearing how you plan out your towns. I have maps for my fictional town, too. :) That's neat how you devised some townspeople before you even gave them stories.

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! Don't you think that helps you to "see" the town like that? Now, I'm expanding it to take in the surrounding county.
      I love the process, don't you?
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I enjoyed reading about Sophie and how her character kept coming back to you. Clearly she had a story to tell!Congrats on the new release.

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  11. Thanks, Tara! Yes, she was vociferous!

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  12. Can't wait to meet Sophie! Oh, and I am a dog lover from way back. I have never been without a dog in my life.

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    1. Hi, Melanie!

      YOU LUCKY DOG! Sorry, I just had to do that. I life with doggies is so much richer. Love the kitties, too!

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  13. Yes, drawing a map of the fictional town is something I do, too. I also sometimes draw other aspects of the story, a building facade, for example, and important objects, and the characters themselves. I find the visual adds to the words in bringing the story to life for me. I'm looking forward to reading Sophie's Path.

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    1. Linda! You are so far above my acumen...I'm jealous. I'm afraid my characters would be little stick figures with smiley faces. I do admit to cutting out pictures from magazines and pasting them on "boards" and papers for the town and the characters. That's why I love pinterest. I build my characters with all their wonderful pins. I am SOOOOO SOOOO SOOOO not an artist. My sister, Nancy, when she was live was very good. My son is great. I don't even do stick figures well. Do they have a CAD program for stick figures? LOL

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  14. Hi Catherine,
    I love the fact that your Heartwarming series is based on LaPorte. I only lived in LP for the first 18 yrs of my life but I managed to graduate from there and left many friends of whom I after 50 yrs have a handful who are still very close so when I read your books from this series besides being very well written and thought out, they bring back so many warm memories of my time living in LaPorte. And, some of your characters are even named after people I grew up with. Even though they are fictional it's still hard to keep from visualizing people I knew with those names.

    And, I love the fact that you have animals depicted in your stories as I am a great lover of all animals. Loved pics of your Golden's. They are my favorite dogs and I would love to have one myself but am not in a place where I can have a large dog. So I just have to be content with visiting my friends dogs. I didn't mean to ramble on but hope you have a very wonderful and successful tour with your book. Enjoy your summer and I will probably be in touch with you sometime in the future.

    Love,
    Pat

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    1. Hi, Pat.

      For anyone reading Pat's statement here, and IF you've read any of the Indian Lake stories, Mrs. Beabots, my octogenarian character IS based on a person I knew. When I was very young not even 10 (double digits) my grandmother, Grace Lanigan, had a standing Friday morning appointment at 8:30 to get her hair done. She was picked up by Mrs. Beabots. Now, these two ladies knew each other for decades. They still called each other, "Mrs. Beabots" and "Mrs. Lanigan". At the time I thought that was ridiculous. Now I think it indicative of an age that we will never see.
      Thanks for your comments, Pat. Have a wonderful summer!

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  15. Hi Catherine,
    I love the fact that your Heartwarming series is based on LaPorte. I only lived in LP for the first 18 yrs of my life but I managed to graduate from there and left many friends of whom I after 50 yrs have a handful who are still very close so when I read your books from this series besides being very well written and thought out, they bring back so many warm memories of my time living in LaPorte. And, some of your characters are even named after people I grew up with. Even though they are fictional it's still hard to keep from visualizing people I knew with those names.

    And, I love the fact that you have animals depicted in your stories as I am a great lover of all animals. Loved pics of your Golden's. They are my favorite dogs and I would love to have one myself but am not in a place where I can have a large dog. So I just have to be content with visiting my friends dogs. I didn't mean to ramble on but hope you have a very wonderful and successful tour with your book. Enjoy your summer and I will probably be in touch with you sometime in the future.

    Love,
    Pat

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  16. Catherine, what a lovely post! I love the focus you put on animals in your stories, and the care & attention to important issues. Sophie sounds fascinating and I'm excited to read this!

    I'm also looking forward to the Facebook party coming up soon; thanks for including me in the fun!

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    1. Elizabeth,
      THANK YOU for being a part of the Facebook Party! We are honored to have you join us and believe me, I do think it will be fun.

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  17. Catherine, I love the way Sophie knows Jack needs Frenchie in his life and she arranges for it, even though Jack hasn't been kind to her. And somehow Frenchie knows Jack and Sophie need each other. They work hard to make the world better, and they deserve to be happy.

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    1. Hi, Beth,

      Thank you for this lovely comment. I have always had this belief that our pets know us better than we know ourselves. Certainly, my pets were smarter than me. From those experiences, Frenchie bounded onto the page. In my first book, LOVE SHADOWS, Beau, the Golden Retriever steals the show. What a honey!
      Thanks again for stopping by.

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  18. Looking forward to reading this and need to check out Wattpad.

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    1. Thanks, Pam! And do check out Wattpad. I love that everyone can get a peak!

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  19. Yay, Catherine! I am so glad the July books are finally out. I love that Sophie is finally getting her happily ever after. I am also looking forward to our radio show later this month!

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    1. Amy, you are going to love Tom and he's going to love you! And lunch is on me afterwards. It's a great place we're going .

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  20. I've just about finished reading "Sophie's Path" and I approve of the decisions you explained in your post. Ha. Sophie is very relatable, working through issues that happen to everybody. I especially liked that she is trying to "reinvent" herself and that she didn't have some major trauma. She seems like a good person who wants to be better and also is growing up and maturing when it comes to her emotions and men. I think it's neat how Jack struggles with what happened in the E.R. that day (avoiding spoilers here).

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  21. Hi, Cathy! YOU really did understand her. She's such a great person and it's too bad she'll only have one book. I'm trying to think of ways to bring her into other stories in the series, but other than her work as a nurse, it doesn't work out. Know what I mean?

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