Writing What I Knew
My great-grandmother was a quilter. My grandmother was a quilter. My mother was a quilter. I have aunts and cousins that quilt. I too quilt, but not with the passion of those came before me! I KNOW about quilting yet for some reason I ignored that age old writer's saga "write what you know".
I can't tell you how many secular novels with quilt themes I gave my mother for gifts. I watched her open the latest mystery quilt themed books as gifts from my sister and still it didn't hit me that romance readers would enjoy a quilt themed book.
As I struggled to come up with a new book idea, I was watching a public television program that focuses on unique people/occupations in Texas. They were covering a woman who repaired quilts for a living. That was my light bulb moment. I thought what a great occupation for a heroine in a romance novel.
I ran the idea by my mom, who of course thought it was the best idea ever because I was her daughter, she'd repaired quilts for others and was very passionate about quilting. She promptly started pulling out quilt books to show me quilt block pattern ideas to use. That's when I discovered the many quilt blocks named for Bible verses.
It didn't take long for me to develop story ideas based on three of the Bible verse named quilt blocks. As I worked on Lily of the Field, I shook my head at the realization that God places me in a family who loved quilts, which gave me inside knowledge about the art of quilting and several real life situations I could use in the details of my manuscript. My mother did repair a couple of heirloom quilts that brought tears to the owner's eyes when they saw the end result. My friend made a t-shirt quilt for her son. I made two baby quilts while waiting for my granddaughter to arrive. This is a picture of a quilt my mom appliqued by hand, The Fisher Boy. It's the quilt pattern that my heroine, Caroline finishes for a customer in the book.
When this manuscript was accepted for publication, I again, marveled at the fact I'd almost missed writing about quilting. Who knew I could make something so commonplace to me an interesting "thread" in a a story? God! Because I am His child and He's taking care of me along with the other lilies in His field.
Do you have a family hobby that would make an interesting theme for a novel?