Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wandering Wednesday - El Paso, Texas & Campo Bom, Brazil ;)

By Patricia Beal | @bealpat 

Hi! Nice to see the writing world beyond editingville.

For the past four months, all I’ve done is edit Desert Willow (formerly known as The Song of the Desert Willow—I edited the title too).

Today I want to take you to some of the places in the novel.

Desert Willow began as a NaNoWriMo in March project back in 2014 and now finally received a much-needed rewrite and edit. It's been on submission before, but it's new and better. My new agent will be reading it in April and then we will see what we want to do next.

This rewrite and edit-again process is so familiar to me. My debut, A Season to Dance, went through seven years of that. One day I will write a novel the easy way—should there be such a thing.

Without further ado, let's wander :) 

Here's the blurb:

Clara Malone is a new college graduate who puts her job-hunting on hold to travel to Texas and deliver her grandmother’s last love letter before the woman’s impending death. Andrew Lee James is a young Army captain whose first shot at love and marriage imploded on the steps of a West Point chapel during graduation week.

When the letter’s recipient, General Mario Medeiros, is delayed in Germany with a weak heart, Andrew is put in charge of Clara’s well-being. Andrew wants to tell off the woman who left him at the altar but now wants him back. If Clara would look at him with the slightest bit of interest, maybe he could. But three generations of women in her family were betrayed and ruined by Army men. Sure, he is handsome and looks just like Prince Harry. But she didn’t date soldiers—not anymore.

Surrounded by cactus flowers she never thought possible and desert willows that sing with the buzzing of hummingbirds, Clara soon finds herself enjoying her time with Andrew more than she should, and as a delay that was supposed to last a few days turns into weeks, she is offered a temporary job she can’t turn down.

Could it be that her mission at Fort Bliss is what she needs to understand her family’s painful history, learn to love them as they are, and chart a hopeful future? It is possible. But a blast from the past threatens to get her off track.

Behind the scenes:

I enjoy this story so much. It has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil before WWII, the beginning of the shoe industry there (still famous worldwide, with women’s shoes always available at stores like Neiman Marcus), the life of the richest family in town, the most influential man (my great grandfather), his death, loss, change. It’s a fascinating slice of history that I hope to share with readers soon.

And then the contemporary story of Clara is fun to write because I’ve worked for the U.S. Army on-and-off since the nineties and have been an Army wife for more than twelve years. There are tons of neat details of Army life to share. This could easily be book one of a series.

Clara and Andrew are fun to write too because I created them in 2015, so by now, I know them well. And I love the antagonist. I should write her story one day. I think I cried for that woman for five whole chapters toward the end.

Emma Stone would be Clara in the movie version ;) Pinterest image.

And Prince Harry would be U.S. Army Captain Andrew Lee James :) Pinterest image.

But I think that what I enjoy the most is making all the connections, showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply. It’s how life works, I believe. To be able to hold all that history in three hundred plus pages, massaged and shaped, can be astonishing and transformational.

Growing up in New Hamburg, Brazil.

The city of Campo Bom continues to honor my great-grandfather and the families that put the city on the map. Here I am with my mom, grandma and uncle.

The city created a great cultural space in the heart of the city to preserve its history:

With my grandma at the top of the monument's chimney. The chimney of her dad's factory was the clock by which city life happened. 

Desert Willow

I hope you enjoyed this slice of family history and this look around my writing desk.

Love y’all. See you next time :)

About Patricia

Patricia Beal has danced ballet her whole life. She is from Brazil and fell in love with the English language while washing dishes at a McDonald's in Indianapolis. She put herself through college working at a BP gas station and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature. She then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years.

She now writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, came out in May (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2017). A Portuguese translation will be out in her native Brazil in late 2018 via Editora Pandorga. Patricia is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.

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  1. Oh what beautiful photos. Thanks so much for sharing I love learning more about places and the books they inspire.

  2. Fort Bliss is a real place? Who knew? Not this Kiwi!

    Great post - I love all the photographs, and the Desert Willow sounds great!

    1. Hi Iola! Thanks! Happy to put Fort Bliss on the map :)

      "Named in honor of LTC William Bliss (1815-1853), a mathematical genius who was the son-in-law of President Zachary Taylor, Ft. Bliss has an area of about 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2); it is the second-largest installation in the Army overall (the largest being the adjacent White Sands Missile Range)." ;)

  3. Patricia, welcome back from editing/revising! I wish you all the very best as you submit Desert Willow to your agent. The pictures you shared are wonderful. You make me feel better about myself as a writer because I don't produce books quickly either. But it's hard to write with a full-time job as a high school English teacher and while raising a family. My creative energy is zapped by the end of the day! I retire in a year and can't wait to dedicate my best hours of the day to writing. I know you understand as you squeeze in writing between homeschooling and life events. Saying lots of prayers as Desert Willow begins its journey into the publishing world!

    1. Thank you for the kind words and for praying! Great to see you here, Karen. One year until retirement?! Wow. It'll be fun. I hope to meet you in person soon :)

  4. Wonderful photo gallery, Patricia. I love your grandmother's picture! Yes--go for a series!

    1. Thanks, Donna! Glad you believe a series would work. Yay :)

  5. I love it when old family stories can be reimagined as fiction!

    1. Hi LeAnne,
      Me too! #ForeverInFiction :) Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Desert Willow was my NaNoWriMo 2015 project. Not 2014... How did I figure it out? The Lauren Daigle song in the novel came out in 2015 ;)