Happy New Year, Inspy readers. I’ve a confession to make. I had completed writing my blog for Inspy today and was about to upload it when I decided to blog about something else instead. If you want to read the blog I would have posted, I’m using it at International Christian Fiction Writers on January 11th . One good thing, I killed two blogs at one go—a rare occurrence for me.
So, rather than tell you about what 2016 held and what 2017 will hold, I decided you might be more interested in learning about the novella I’m currently trying to complete. I’ve never tackled a story where the main characters are in their sixties, but I have to tell you that I am having SO much fun with this story and all the characters in it—the Dunhams and their neighbors, the Stansons.
There’s a saying that says ‘Life begins at 40’, but for my hero and heroine, Brian and Elizabeth Dunham, life literally begins at sixty. When you read the blurb you’ll quickly guess why.
Here’s a short excerpt from the opening scene with Elizabeth and JoAnn:
ARMS STILL extended on the Vortex Spin Bike’s handles, Elizabeth Dunham sat back down on the narrow seat. She leaned forward and rested her sweaty, silvery head on the bar between her arms. She stopped pedalling, and the flywheel soon came to rest. The slow warmup to the voice of Robbie Williams and the old classic Mack the Knife had been easy and fun, but the upbeat tempo of Radar Love that followed quickly sapped her energy.
The day after Elizabeth’s sixtieth birthday, her newfound friend and neighbor, JoAnn Stanson, had signed her up for this Over Sixties spinning class, and dragged her along to classes ever since. Twice a week.
“You need something to replace the activity of running that orphanage and looking after all those African children,” JoAnn had said.
And before Elizabeth knew what was happening, she was sweating over a bicycle going nowhere, legs on fire and her chest about to explode.
I’m writing A Time to Laugh for a romance comedy box set due to release early March, although I think we’re going on pre-order way before then. This is the first book in a new collection (not series) that I’m planning titled Under the Sun. I don’t have any plans to connect the stories in this collection, but who knows what will happen between the publication of Book 1 and Book 2. All the books will, however, be based on a line from Ecclesiastes 3.
If you do happen to read my blog on ICFW on the 11th, you’ll soon come to the conclusion that the earliest Book 2 in this collection can be written and published is during 2018. My initial thinking was to write Books 2 and 3 for the box sets I’m in this year, but then I realised my readers would probably never forgive me if I kept them hanging until 2018 for the rest of the Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters series. So I chose to write those first instead.
Here’s the blurb and cover for A Time to Laugh, and I certainly hope when you do get to read this story, that it’ll bring a smile to your face and tears to your eyes…tears of laughter that is, maybe a few of the others, too.
I got this message from a friend of mine (who I’m using as my muse and have named my characters after her and her Brian). She’s reading the story for me as I go. Thought I’d share her thoughts on A Time to Laugh with you:
Just sat and read the first four chapters—unable to set my tablet down. The story’s amazing. I had tears in my eyes several times…an indication as to how you sucked me into the story. The descriptive writing conjuring up both images of the characters and their surroundings is fantastic. This is a hit my friend. Definitely can’t wait for the next instalment.
And now, if I don’t get back to writing this story, it’s not going to be ready for my deadline!
For thirty years, Brian and Elizabeth Dunham have served on the mission field. Unable to have children of their own, they’ve been a father and mother to countless orphans in six African countries. When an unexpected beach-house inheritance and a diagnosis of an occupational lung disease coincide, they realize that perhaps God is telling them it’s time to retire.
At sixty, Elizabeth is past child-bearing age. She’d long ago given up wondering whether this would be the month she would conceive. But when her best friend and neighbor jokes that Elizabeth’s sudden fatigue and nausea are symptoms of pregnancy, Elizabeth finds herself walking that familiar and unwanted road again, wondering if God is pulling an Abraham and Sarah on her and Brian.
The mere notion has questions flooding Elizabeth’s mind. If she were miraculously pregnant, would they have the stamina to raise a child in their golden years? Especially with Brian’s health issues. And the child? Would it be healthy, or would it go through life struggling some kind of disability? What of her own health—could she survive giving birth?
Will what Brian and Elizabeth have dreamed of their entire married life be an old-age blessing or a curse?