October 8th, 2012

book cover humor

A Coming Attractions photo ... kind of

It's not often that a writer shows an actual photo of his fictional setting. But what the heck: In the case of ​Coming Attractions​ , the fictional drive-in at the center of the story is based on a real one, the Auburn-Garrett in northeast Indiana. Here's a not-so-great photo taken a few years ago, that should give you a taste of what it would be like for Logan Chandler and his kids, as they wait for the sun to disappear and the flicks to begin -- a photo taken while my kids and I were doing the same thing.

Don't forget to vote for ​Coming Attractions​ at the So You Think You Can Write contest:


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book cover humor

Main Characters: What's It All About ... People?

Although I saved the characters until now, they were one of the first things I worked on once I came up with the basic idea for the story; after all, a well-defined character can lead a story in ways it might not otherwise go. If Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird had been a lazy drunkard, none of the events in that story would have taken place the way they did.

Since my experience going to the drive-in as an adult usually involved my two kids, I gave my male lead two kids, too. Since it was a romance, their mother was out of the picture – well, not entirely, as you’ll see in the story, but I made Logan Chandler a widower.

Where did I get the name? I spend a lot of time on naming characters, and Logan was the result of a great deal of searching for something that seemed to fit just right. Chandler? My kids and I were big fans of the TV show Friends.

I took a chance with my romantic hero in this story: He’s not the typical Type A personality we’ve come to expect, certainly nothing like Storm Chaser’s take-charge action junkie Chance Hamlin. Logan is a laid back family man, a small businessman with a sense of humor and a mild personality – mild until his family or his community is threatened. Then he’s not mild at all.

Madison McKinley, on the other hand, is no damsel in distress: As an attorney at a high class Boston law firm, she’s Type A+, focused on career advancement. Family? What’s that? (But there are good reasons for Maddie’s lack of a personal life.)

Maddie’s named after a Founding Father and a US President. Her personal hero is another Massachusetts lawyer, John Adams, so there’s a certain connection there. I could go on about it thematically fitting with the small town’s fight against bigger, more powerful aggressors in a Revolutionary War type of way, but that wasn’t intentional. (There’s a more personal reason for Madison’s name, but it’s … personal.)

Just the same, Maddie likes to quote Adams, and she’s in all ways in control and comfortable with her life and career. Then she gets thrown into the world of handsome, laid-back men, small towns and little children, and she’s not comfortable. Not at all.

In true romance fashion, Logan and Maddie are, of course, instantly attracted to each other. But if it were that easy there wouldn’t be a story, so the two have to deal with the fact that Logan has taken on the mission of keeping the drive-in open … while Maddie’s job is on the line if she can’t get it shut down.

Next: The support staff.  And the vote, of course – don’t forget: