Setting the Scene: Perly’s

Perly's

As I mentioned before, I chose to set Neverending Beginnings in Richmond.  When I first started writing, I debated whether or not to create fictional restaurants for my characters to frequent.  When I was writing the original draft, Sex and the City was in the height of its poularity and I didn’t want it to seem like I was copy-catting the restaurant name-dropping trend.  Ultimately I decided that it was infinitely easier to use places I already knew and that as long as I didn’t overdo it, readers wouldn’t be annoyed.  So far I’ve been happy with the reactions from Richmond readers.  Many people have mentioned that it is fun to see places they have eaten at featured in a novel.  Occasionally  it even prompts someone to share their story or memory of the place with me (which I love).

Perly’s is one of my favorite restaurants.  Recently at a conference I attended, one of the out-of-town presenters mentioned having breakfast there and went on the say that you know a restaurant is good when you are already planning your next meal there before you finish the first.  I couldn’t explain it any better myself.  The banana chocolate chip muffins featured in my novel are amazing, as is the curried split pea soup, the baked apples, the fried potatoes and the biscuits.  Ah . . . the biscuits . . .  there could be a whole blog post on those perfect homemade biscuits*.  Seriously.

Here’s a scene featuring Perley’s:

When I first arrived at the restaurant, I felt relieved that this large group might somehow provide insulation from Amy’s mother, until I realized that the only two seats left were right next to her.  Even though I was on time, the other guests had all come together from the hotel and arrived en masse.  I hadn’t gotten a room, since I lived just a few blocks away and didn’t see the point.  Until now.

“Katherine, how nice of you to join us,” Mrs. Moore greeted, somehow making it seem as if my on time arrival was late.

“Glad to be here,” I greeted and waved back at Amy happily seated at the other end of the table.

“Mimosa?”  Amy’s sister asked, holding out a pitcher.

I took the pitcher from her.  Here’s to taking one for Amy, I thought as I filled my glass.

“Now girls, it really is a little early for champagne, don’t you think?”  Mrs. Moore commented.

“That’s why they mix it with orange juice,” Amy’s sister shot back, rolling her eyes at me.  I’m pretty sure I saw Mrs. Moore tense, but she didn’t say anything.  At least I had an ally. 

I ordered my favorite banana chocolate chip muffin, which was just out of the oven according to the waitress, a side of fruit and a coffee so I wouldn’t be tempted to have a second mimosa.  Not so bad.  Fresh muffins, good coffee.  Lots of things to keep my mouth occupied.

“No eggs or bacon or sausage?”  Mrs. Moore asked.

“Nope.  The muffins are absolutely amazing here.”

“Plus, aren’t you a vegetarian?”  Amy’s sister chimed in.

Since far less-opinionated people than Amy’s mother had opinions about my diet I just sipped my mimosa, took a deep breath and waited.

“I just don’t understand that at all . . .” she started and I just shrugged and sipped. 

She was quiet for quite some time, and I started to think that by some miracle I was going to get off that easy.  But I knew better.  She finally added, “I think there is something to be said for balance.  Too much of anything, even vegetables, can’t be good.”

*If you plan to visit Perly’s for a biscuit, get there early – they show up on the 86’ed list quickly!

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Published

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It was sort of a surreal experience; one moment there was this manuscript on my computer and the next it was out there in the electronic universe, just waiting to be clicked on. It still doesn’t particularly seem real to see it’s little icon sitting there on my virtual bookshelf.

Just like the band labeled an overnight success has actually played in basements and bars for years, my published overnight novel has a much longer backstory. It all began with a few chapters in a writing class at Visual Arts Center, probably about four years ago. I enrolled in the class just to explore whether or not I enjoyed writing and I left with the beginning of a story that wouldn’t let go until all 365 pages of it were out.

I finished the novel right around the time of the James River Writers annual conference and decided to pitch it to an agent. My plan was for this to be a “practice pitch” so that I would get some pointers on things to include in the query letters I would soon begin writing. The agent I spoke to asked me to send her the first few chapters. Then the full novel.

She ultimately passed on it, but offered some very insightful advice on how I might improve my manuscript. She indicated I should feel free to submit other work to her in the future. I loved her suggestions and could immediately see how they would make my work stronger; my themes more poignant. I made some fairly significant changes to my original manuscript and queried the same agent again. She accepted.

After numerous submissions to editors and another significant rewrite it became clear that the novel was not going to sell. I set it aside and began working on other projects. For way, way longer than I would like to admit I told myself that this novel would just end up being my second novel, after I published something else.

I can’t say exactly what caused the major “ah-ha” moment for me. The thing that finally caused me to give serious consideration to self-publishing. It was certainly something I knew existed as an option, I just didn’t view it as the right option for me until recently. It’s not at all that I’ve stopped believing in traditional publishing, or even that I won’t still try to go this route with my current projects in progress. I think it’s just that I finally realized that stories are meant to be read. On paper. On iPad. On Kindle. On Nook. On Kobo. On whatever else. It was time for my story to be heard.

I’m so excited that “Neverending Beginnings” is no longer just a file on my computer. I’m thrilled to be sharing it with all of you.

Here’s the “back cover” synopsis:

Kate is alarmed to find out that her best friend Amy is getting married after dating for only six months. Her alarm turns to shock when she learns that the groom-to-be is Kate’s old college ex. As the big day approaches, Kate’s inability to hide her feelings is threatening to ruin her friendship with Amy.

Kate’s last minute, vodka-fueled wedding toast has her wishing she could turn back the clock and make things right. Imagine her surprise when she wakes up the next day and finds out she can.

Forced to relive one of the most painful weeks of her life, Kate slowly works to repair the damage she has done. In the process, she learns a lot about herself and a finds herself looking forward to getting to know the cynically charming best man, Ben, better.

And here’s where to find it at your cyber-bookstore of choice:

Smashwords (downloads available in the format for most any reader, 15% off with code: GA82P )

iBookstore

Kobo

Amazon

Nook Bookstore *coming soon*

Thanks for reading, I’d love to know what you think!