PROOF SHIRLEY MacLAINE MIGHT BE ONTO SOMETHING

 

trish-alba Riders and Readers, welcome our friend Trish Jensen to the ‘vert!

You know, it sucks when you finally realize that life just isn’t fair. I’m fairly certain we all learned it at an early age, when Santa didn’t bring every single thing on our five page list. But at times it’s reinforced and heartbreaking.

Take me, for example. I have always, and I mean always been drawn to all things Southern. And even though my first four years of life were spent in Puerto Rico – definitely south – that’s not the Southern I’m talking about.

Every two-three years my father would call a “family meeting.” That was code word for “we’re moving again.” No, not military. He was a fixer. He worked for a huge corporation which owned a bazillion companies, and whenever one company was in trouble, he/we were sent to fix what was wrong and then move on to the next company.

So every time we were summoned to a family meeting I’d cross my fingers and just pray he’d say something like Charleston, Memphis, Chapel Hill, Savannah…

antebellum mansion

And every time he’d actually come up with Minneapolis, Cleveland, and several different Pennsylvania towns.

Don’t get me wrong. I found something wonderful about each of those places, but they weren’t below the Mason-Dixon. The closest I came was the seven years I lived in Northern Virginia. Yes, below the Mason-Dixon, but definitely not antebellum South. I wanted trees dripping with Spanish Moss, wrap-around porches, mint juleps and people who said y’all.

This is my long-winded way of getting to my point, which is that when I begin a new book almost inevitably the setting is the SOUTH. Two exceptions were one that was set in NYC and one set in LA. Otherwise, Atlanta, Charleston, DC (because I knew it so well) and my latest from Bell Bridge Books, set in Daredevil, South Carolina (fictional town).

Send Me No Flowers was one of those “magic” books that just seemed to write itself. I did absolutely no research on the South, did not listen to any Southern lingo tapes, nothing. I just went with what was in my head. When I was finished I sent it to a writing buddy who lives in a small Southern town outside of Macon for his input. He’s not a romance reader or writer, but he’s a bud, so he dutifully read it. And his feedback was amazing. He told me there was no way he believed I’ve never lived in the South. Just not possible. The only thing he believed I’d gotten wrong was that I had the heroine call the hero a nincompoop. Not only had he never heard of the word, he guaranteed me that no self-respecting Southerner would ever use such a word. I’ve since taken a poll, and he was wrong on that score. Many Southerners had heard of it, and some had used it. J But I took it out, anyway, because if he didn’t believe it, then maybe others wouldn’t have as well.

The major point being that I had no idea where it all came from. Made it a joke that most of the businesses had two different purposes. Like Harley’s Barber and Tackle Shop. Another was a jeweler and dog groomer. And so on. I have no idea where it came from, it just felt right. Came to find out from my buddy that this is exactly how his town is. And then there was the Southern speak. Once again, no experience, no research. I just wrote the dialogue the way I heard it in my head. And again my Southern buddy was flummoxed. How did I know?

The answer is, I have no idea. It just…was.

So I think good old Shirley might be on to something. Maybe in some other life I was sitting in an antebellum mansion, gazing out at all of my trees dripping with Spanish Moss, while sipping a mint julep and saying, “Hey, all y’all” as folks passed by.

mint julep

Am I alone? Has anyone else just known something without knowing why or how you know it?

Trish Jensen will be offering either an e-book or print edition of Send Me No Flowers to one winner the moment they become available.

Send Me No Flowers: Shy and secretive Jennifer Creighton has opened a flower shop in the small town of Daredevil, South Carolina. Sheriff Rob Townsend wants to know why. And most definitely wants to unearth her secrets.

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About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
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29 Responses to PROOF SHIRLEY MacLAINE MIGHT BE ONTO SOMETHING

  1. laurieg72l says:

    I’ve never instinctively known something about an area . However, when I started knitting I felt I had done it before and quickly picked up difficult stiches.

  2. Trish Jensen says:

    LOL, Laurie! While recuperating after an operation I was bored out of my mind, and decided to try my hand at knitting. Of course I decided on a scarf. Easy, yes? Umm, no. A few weeks after I was sitting in the emergency room, knitting my little heart out when a woman who was in there with her child remarked how cute it was that I was knitting a pickle warmer. A pickle warmer? I realized that for some reason the scarf was kind of curling, but figured that always happened and you just pulled it straight when you’re done.That’s when I knew that knitting was not my thing. :) Never tried to find out what a pickle warmer was, either, too afraid of what it might be. :)

  3. Kathleen O says:

    I so belive in another life I would have lived in the south. I love everything about it. I think being brought up in a large city in Canada and it being so very different culturely, it fasinated me. And then a few years back I actually went to one of my fav cities I had read and heard about or saw in the movie and and that was Charleston SC. I knew this is where I was meant to be one day. I just fell in love with it and a visit that was only supposed to be one day, turned into four. So I am still hoping that I can go back and visit again and maybe have a place there for me to visit from time to time..

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Kathleen:
      I know exactly how you feel. Both my sister and brother went to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. And I visited them at school as often as possible because just being there said to me, “This is where I want to land one day.” Not necessarily in Chapel Hill, but in the South. It was magical in a way I’ve felt nowhere else. It’s unexplainable, yet palpable.
      Thanks for writing!
      Trish

  4. leannebanks says:

    Trish, welcome home (the South). I love the sound of your book and I know what you mean about Spanish moss. My family traveled to Myrtle Beach, SC almost every summer of my life and we often passed through Florence, a wonderful smallish town with lots of beautiful Spanish moss.

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Leanne:
      Do you belong to Ninc? Because next fall’s conference is being held in Myrtle Beach! I’d LOVE to meet you. And maybe we could take a drive and look at all of those cool mansions with Live Oaks dripping with Spanish moss. :)

  5. loisgreiman says:

    Welcome to the vert, Trish.
    I’m afraid it’s usually the other way around for me; I instinctively do NOT know things I should know. Thanks fro joining us today.

  6. Your book sounds WONDERFUL! I’ll look forward to reading it.
    I write contemporary western romance. Never been on a ranch in my life but it seems to be working! :)

  7. Good morning, Trish! Thanks for joining us today.

    There are times when I’m in “deep write” that I see and feel and hear a scene as though I’m actually there. A psychologist friend once told me that I have “photographic imagination.” When I laughed, she said, no, it’s not a joke; it’s a real thing. I do believe in some sort of cellular-level consciousness, responsible for experiences like deja-vu and “just knowing.” I think we have instincts and ancestral memory that are natural but have atrophied because we don’t rely on them the way our ancestors did. We’re fascinating creatures, aren’t we? But we have more in common with other fascinating creatures than some of us like to admit. We’re animals. All related.

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Hi, Kathleen! Thanks for having me! Yes, I know exactly what your friend means. There are just times when I’m typing away and suddenly stop myself and think, “How did I know that? Where did that come from?” Usually it spooks me enough to send me running for the carton of Ben & Jerry’s.

  8. ellie says:

    Your delightful post captivated me with the longing for a unique setting. Your book sounds wonderful. Best wishes.

  9. Anne says:

    Thanks for this fascinating insight. Having never travelled when I was younger, now I love to and have just begun a journey. I hope to catch up with the places that are so appealing and special. The South especially so.

  10. Kylie Brant says:

    I share your love for southern settings. My all time favorite hero is Tucker Longstreet, one of Nora’s from Carnal Innocence. Sigh. I’ve never had an instinctive knowledge of a setting or people but the most recent book I placed in the south also seemed to write itself. Hmmm. Maybe I should change the setting of my current wip!

    • Trish Jensen says:

      Kylie: I’m sure you don’t remember, but the last time I had the pleasure of blogging here I mentioned how much I loved your name. Guess what the name of my heroine is in my current WIP? :) Oh, wait, you haven’t copyrighted your name, have you?

  11. Lisa Scott says:

    Yeah, the voices in my head are usually southern. I don’t know why. Your book sounds great. Maybe you could retire down south? Start using a southern accent and lie to people that you used to live there?

    • Trish Jensen says:

      LOL, Lisa! I once took a trip with my golf pro bf down south to meet his folks. We stopped along the way to meet relatives in Alabama. By the time we left, I actually had an accent. Hey, now that I think about it, maybe the memories of that trip just came back to me! My family moved so many times and my folks always teased me at how easily I picked up the accent of the place. Now I wish I could afford to go to the UK, because I LOVE a Brit accent. At a Ninc conference two years ago I just kept making Jo Beverley talk, because I loved her accent. And on a cruise I met a Brit fellow with the most magnificent Brit accent. Made him talk a lot, too. He was the one who taught me the difference between Queen’s English as opposed to say, Cockney. He could speak them all. I’d say, “York!” and he’d start talking with that accent. I’d say, “Manchester!” and he’d instantly switch. It was fascinating. Much like a Texas accent isn’t the same as an Oklahoma accent. Although they’re close.

  12. bellwriter says:

    Trish, maybe you were reincarnated and that’s why you know so much and crave the South. And businesses in the South must be great, otherwise your dad would have been called to fix them. I learned a while back that there’s a difference between Texas and Southern, but who can’t be enamored of the South with programs like Designing Women or the Andy Griffith Show. Love the South, love the tradition and of course your wonderful storytelling!

  13. ruth says:

    Sometimes we live in the wrong place, and the wrong era too. Southern living would be appealing and give me a new perspective on life.

  14. Quilt Lady says:

    I never moved around much when I was a child. Still haven’t moved much as an adult so not sure weather I would like the travel or not.

  15. Barbara E. says:

    That was an interesting post and I think that’s happened to me before too. I have a feeling it’s probably because I read about it somewhere, but who knows, maybe it’s from another life. :D

  16. What a great post, Trish! So great to see you here! I’ve spent little time in the south, but I LOVE books that are set there, and will definitely be reading yours. Knowing that it flowed so well in the writing process, I’ll bet its amazing!

    Photographic imagination. What a fascinating concept, Kathleen. So that’s the term for when someone is deep into the writing process and it seems as though the story is so real that it is playing like a movie in one’s head?

    Fun to read the post and all the great responses, too!

  17. Congratulations on the new book, Trish, and finding out you might really have had a past life! I say enjoy where your mind can take you. :)

  18. Nicole says:

    I almost moved to Atlanta in the nineties. We were visiting houses and checking school but there was a change of plan. We end up in the west instead. The funny thing was when we told people here that we were suppose to move to Atlanta, they were saying “weren’t you afraid of tornado?” While the people we new in Atlanta were asking “aren’t you afraid of earthquake in the west?” I hope one day you get your wish to live in the south.

  19. Martha Lawson says:

    Can’t say that I have!! Yea, you got to admit the South is different! I’m from Mississippi and there is no place on Earth like it. Southern hospitality at its best! Come on down and visit.

  20. Reading this late but the fact that it was all instinctual for you sounds like it would make a good read.
    I tend to question even those things I do know.

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