Saturday, July 28, 2007

Behind the Scenes: Lost In NashVegas

So many of you liked the Behind The Scenes blog I did for Diva NashVegas, I thought I'd back it up and write about Lost In NashVegas.

Are you just trembling with anticiapation?

Well, right, you should.

This book was like birthing a baby, including the nine months. Once my agent and I decided to write about a song writer, it took me forever to decide the story.

While I wanted the story to be southern, I didn't want to set it in Nashville. I didnt' know anything about Nashville.

Nor songwriting.

I did some cursory research, sent a synopsis to my agent who promptly and rightly sent it back. "No!"

By that time, I knew I needed to set most of the story in Nashville. I thought I could do research over the internet. I'd also spoken to a friend's friend, Bethany Thouin, about how song writers work in Nashville. She'd moved there to be one.

I put together a synopsis and three chapters called, "Country Princess."

My agent loved it. Shew. Sigh of relief. And, we sold it a few weeks later to Thomas Nelson. To my good fortune, the ACFW conference was in Nashvill that year, and less than a mile from my publisher.

So, before writing the book, I was able to meet my editor and publishing family in person and toured Nashville a little.

Of course, I was an expert on all things country and Nashville after only ONE day. I knew about the guitars. I'd driven past the Ryman.

I came home and got to work. About the time I was stuck, the publisher, Allen Arnold, called and suggested I make the book very Nashville centric.

Good idea. Really, it was a layer I needed to make Robin McAfee's journey authentic. So, back to Nashville I went.

Lisa Young, my friend and Allen's assistant, took me to the Bluebird Cafe. I went to open mic night. I toured the Hall of Fame. I drove and walked Music Row. I hung out at the Nashville Songwriters Association International on Roy Acuff Avenue.

I sang on the stage steps of the Ryman. I picked a place for Robin to live, places she'd visit. I ate pancakes at the Pancake Pantry.

Through Lisa's connections, I talked to songwriters and industry professionals. Had coffee with Barry Dean (God's Will.)

Really, I had no idea about Nashville or country music until I emmerced myself in the biz and the city. I was so grateful to every one who spent time helping me.

The Story

When I started writing this country girl songwriter, I'd been in a short workshop with Kelsey Roberts at my local RWA chapter meeting. She talked about juxtaposing our characters secret desire with their greatest fear.

This technique ended my story agony. I'd spent months agonizing over this story. I just didn't know how or what to write.

But by the time Thomas Nelson bought it, I had a good idea. When Kelsey suggested the fear and desire cross fire, it cinched my story.

Robin's secret desire was to be a songwriter. Her greatest fear was to sing in front of people.

I wanted her sister, Eliza, to be the one to challenge her to go for her dream. In the opening chapter, Robin is about to run away from a performance, again, when a couple of clogging triplets need her help.

I thought it as important to show Robin as kind and compassinate, and would sacrifice herself, her fears, in order to save others.

So, when the triplets clogging platform collapses, Robin covers their embarrassment by over coming her fear.

This proved she could over come, and that she had the talent and magic every one told her she had.

Eliza shows up and prods her. "Go for your dream."

This book is very much about finding your destiny, no matter what oppositions you face.

Tomorrow, the journey to Nashville. And what about her boyfriend, Ricky?


Rel said...

Love it, Rachel! I will just have to pick up Lost from my TBR :) I love it when I just know I am going to enjoy a book!

Bethany said...

Don't call me a friend's friend ever again! LOL I know that is how we met...I just thought it was funny.

Guess what! Thomas Nelson is publishing my book too! Chocolate Covered Friendship. Exciting stuff!

:) Bethany

Kathy S. said...

This book went straight to the top of my short list of favorites. Then DIVA joined it.
I am so looking forward to adding more RH books to that list.
You go, girl!!!