Please join me in welcoming Karen Rose Smith to the playground today! We're really excited she joined us on the swingset for a discussion of her latest book The Bracelet. It's an August Everlasting Love release that looks absolutely fabulous! Our very own Playground Monitor has gotten an early preview and raves about the journey of this hero and heroine through a lifetime of love. Welcome, Karen.
My latest book--THE BRACELET--is different from the storylines I usually write. It is a love story but in a much broader context. THE BRACELET is a book conceived in my heart with a plotline that flowed easily because of my experiences in the 1960’s. Although fiction, it is set in my hometown of York, Pennsylvania and has more of “me” in it than any book I’ve ever penned. It's my 59th. I know--what took me so long? Maybe the passing of time and the right venue.
Every novelist writes a book at some point in her career that is quintessentially “hers”…that book which reflects her life experiences in pure fiction yet pure feeling. I attended college in the late sixties and early seventies. I was part of the moratorium day for peace that swept the country, especially on college campuses. As I wrote to a serviceman in Vietnam, I waited hopefully and fearfully for each letter from him. In 1969 my husband and I faced the draft lottery. The plotline of this book unfolded so naturally that at times the emotional depth of it and the memories that rushed back were overwhelming.
This book is a personal book. My childhood neighborhood is my heroine's childhood neighborhood. Brady's childhood neighborhood is where some of my friends lived. Each landmark I named--like the hospital, the library and the Yorktowne hotel--has a personal significance for me. That's why I included pictures of them on my website (http://www.karenrosesmith.com/). I also included a photo album of the Vietnam Memorial for the same reason.
Although THE BRACELET practically wrote itself, capturing the devotion and the turmoil in my couple’s thirty-three year marriage was a challenge that sometimes left me breathless with the joy of writing. This book might look like a “category” romance on the outside, but THE BRACELET is a novel about the Malone family, how the Vietnam War affected Brady Malone’s life as well as impacted his future. It is a novel about Laura, the woman who loved him deeply enough to be devoted to him for her lifetime in spite of what he experienced…in spite of the tears in their marriage…because of the bond with Brady that enveloped her heart the first day she met him at an anti-war demonstration on the York, PA courthouse steps.
What happens in the past, stays in the past? Never. Brady’s experiences impact every relationship he has. Suddenly he realizes he could still lose Laura if he can’t finally form a bond with their eighteen-year-old adopted son.
THE BRACELET is an emotional family story as well as a love story. I know I will probably never write a book that affected me as much as this one did. And now that I've written this type of book, I know I need to write more of them to keep me creatively alive. I like writing category romances and I can't see ever giving that up. I love plotting the perfect couple and a wonderful happily ever after. I've always been able to include secondary characters in my romances. But now I want to explore them more completely. I want to delve into the relationships that in category I'm forced to keep on the surface.
I wrote THE BRACELET as a single title. In its original version, there was more emphasis on Brady's and Laura's son Sean, his POV and his life. I had to change that because my editor wanted more emphasis on the couple. I made the changes because there was so much more to this book that was important to me to see in print. But next time, I want to do it all.
For 59 books I thought I was writing the books of my heart. But now I know what that phrase really means.
I'm going to sign off with a few questions for you to think about or post on. Are you writing what you want to write? If not, what keeps you writing what you are writing? Do you know what you want to write or does it change from season to season, year to year?
Peace and love,
Karen Rose Smith
One lucky commenter will receive an autographed copy of THE BRACELET plus this beautiful one of a kind Swarovski crystal bracelet in pastel shades. Other commenters will be selected to receive discount coupons good toward the purchase of THE BRACELET, which will hit the stands on August 1st.