We’ve all heard it before. Write what you know. I’m not sure that always means what we think (a post for another day) but today, USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby puts her own spin on things with Write Where You Are. She was unintentionally inspired to write her new book, What the Heart Remembers, Book Three in the Memory House Series during a trip to Paris.
How do you take advantage of where you are? And when was the last time you were unintentionally inspired?
Please welcome Bette Lee Crosby to WFW!
Write Where You Are
As a writer I tell everyone else’s story. I am the blind man in the subway, the eleven-year-old boy whose parents have been murdered, and the grandmother who is searching for her missing grandchildren. I am even a woman who can touch her hand to a forgotten object and find the memories that have been left behind. I am all of these people and none of these people. Those were their stories and when I told them I imagined myself living their lives in their worlds. Imagined. Only imagined.
This year something changed. I suppose you could blame it on an atmospheric block that settled over Europe and turned the streets of Paris into blistering boulevards; but I believe it was a heavenly muse simply having a bit of fun.
This all began three years ago when my husband and I were traveling through Europe and spent four wonderful days in Paris. I fell in love with the city and promised myself I would come back. Of course I have also promised myself that I would join a gym, give up chocolate and stop reading until the wee hours of the morning. The Paris promise may have gone the way of those others had fellow author Patricia Sands not enticed me with her tale of home exchanges.
Following her lead, I offered our home in exchange for a place in Paris and voila! It happened. Through the home exchange we got a charming one-bedroom apartment in the center of Paris. The last time we were there I remembered it being quite chilly, so I wisely opted for the three weeks that ran from late June through mid-July. And just to be certain, I packed lots of long-sleeved tops, sweaters, a raincoat and of course, my laptop. Mind you, I had no intention of working. The computer was only so that I could occasionally check my mail or post pictures on Facebook.
The apartment, or flat as Parisians would say, was perfect. It had all the things I’d loved about Paris, including French doors that opened onto a small balcony overlooking Rue Pomme. The first week was exactly as expected, chilly in the mornings with a pleasant splash of sun in the afternoons. Day six the temperature zipped up to almost eighty and I thought, well now, isn’t this wonderful. Day seven the heat wave hit. By day nine it had soared to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Have I mentioned there is no air conditioning in Paris? In the winter it is freezing and even on the hottest days of August it is cool enough for a sweater in the morning. Except now it wasn’t. The late afternoons and evenings are when the heat was most oppressive, so we began spending lots of time at that lovely little flat. We would pull the French doors open and turn on the old-fashioned revolving fan to stir up a bit of a breeze.
There is so much to see and do in Paris, so we spent the cooler morning hours exploring the city and in the afternoons and evenings, I snapped open my laptop and wrote.
I began a novel set in Paris. It is the story of a girl who, like me, loves the museums and the cafes and the ironwork balconies. I wrote a love story about the things we did and the places we went. For the first time ever, I actually did live the life of my protagonist…and I loved every minute of it.
As writers we all too often squirrel ourselves away in a small office and explore the world only through the lives of our characters; this year I broadened my horizons. I’ve discovered that I don’t have to create imaginary worlds, there is one out there just waiting for me to step into it. Now, all I have to do is create the characters.
USA Today Bestselling Author and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.
“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”
Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win another twenty literary awards, including the Royal Palm Literary Award, The Reviewer’s Choice Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal and the Reader’s Favorite International Book Award Gold Medal.
Her published novels to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child (2012), Cupid’s Christmas (2012), What Matters Most (2013), Jubilee’s Journey (2013), Previously Loved Treasures (2014), Blueberry Hill, A Sister’s Story (2014) Passing through Perfect (2015) and Memory House (2015). She also authored “Life in the Land of IS” a memoir of Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world’s longest living quadriplegic.
You can find out more about Bette Lee Crosby, here:
You can find What The Heart Remembers (available for preorder) here: