Everybody loves lists. They’re the latest Internet thing. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that those with OCD tendencies have taken over the online world. That’s all I can think.
However, I’m good with it. And I can make a list of nearly anything out there. Today, though, I’ll give you this list … just when you thought it was safe to get involved with another book series. I’m dragging you back in.
Some of you are friends from way back and y’all know some of these things, even though you may not have put them together.
In no particular order …
1. The name “Bellingwood” comes from mashing together my maiden name “Greenwood” and the very first name on the abstract for our land in the middle of Iowa (where I do all of my writing). Mr. Bell owned a lot of land here way back in the eighteen hundreds. Mom found his name on there and because we were located in a beautiful dell … Bell’s Dell was born.
Funny … when we were growing up here in the 1960s, the 1800s didn’t seem all that far away. It’s incredible what fifty more years does to history!
2. Polly’s middle name is Amelia. This was the name my sister chose for the first baby girl she might have someday. She had this named picked out when we were still very young, and since she didn’t use it … I did.
3. Ralph Bedford shows up in later books. Uncle Ralph lived in Bedford and farmed using Percherons longer than most of his cohorts. When they were moving to modern machinery, he still used his horses. He died just a few years ago, after living a very, very long life. He worked up until the day he couldn’t.
4. The map of Bellingwood is actually a town in Iowa, but I flipped it 90 degrees and renamed the streets. If you look for Roland, Iowa, you’ll see what I did. Once you get there, if you travel west along 130th Street / E18 about 16 miles, you’ll find the farmer’s field where Bellingwood is actually located.
5. The street on the cover of Book 2 – A Big Life in a Small Town – is my hometown – Sigourney, Iowa. Max shot that several years ago and not only was I thrilled to show just a little of the place where I grew up, it was the perfect shot of a small town Iowa downtown.
6. Nate Mikkel’s classic car – a 62 Impala hardtop. If I give the impression that I have any clue about classic cars, that’s only because I’m able to tell stories. I know nothing. The one car that my husband has desired throughout his lifetime is this car. If he can’t have it in real life, I suppose I can give it to him in my stories.
7. I know no one named Polly. The funny thing about her full name – is that there are a lot of L’s in there. There are a couple of names going back a generation that begin with that letter. I have no idea where it came from. I really didn’t name her after the Pollyanna from Eleanor Porter’s books, even though some of my critics think she’s too sweet to really exist. My family has no Henrys in our lives either. Little did I know that my sister has long intended on naming her first pet Henry. She got a female dog, so she adjusted a little, Henri is short for Henrietta.
8. I was in the middle of finishing my Master’s Degree when I knew that if I was going to start a writing career, I needed to get moving. I’d ignored the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2011. Who had time for that? I was writing way too many papers to spend time working through 50,000+ words. By 2012, my friend, Rebecca, had been pushing me pretty hard to get busy. I sneaked it in on her. There was no way I wanted to take the challenge. I was still working on my Master’s and finishing that was more important than writing a novel. But at the end of November, I had a first draft and it was time to see what all the fuss was with self-publishing. “All Roads Lead Home” has seven quite a few edits since then. I’ve learned a lot in these last few years. But, it’s the story that came pouring out of my heart and I’m glad it did.