How Friends Have Influenced My Writing

(Author’s Note: You will also find this post at Southern Magic, but it’s a post I want to repeat.)

In my thirty years career I’ve written nearly seventy-five novels in multiple genres, including romantic comedy, romantic suspense, mystery, women’s fiction and literary fiction. In thinking back on all those stories, I’m not surprised to see that my recurring theme is the courage and resilience of women. I’m not at all shocked to discover that I write about strong female friendships time and again.

The best friend/cousin relationship between Callie and Lovie in my Southern Cousins Mystery is based on my own easy friendships with my cousin Martha Jo Patterson and my cohort in the choir, flaming redhead Alice Virginia (AV) Daniels. Both women are feisty, opinionated, generous-hearted, wise, loyal, and full of humor and devilment. If you saw AV, you’d say, Elvis and the Buried Brides, cover“Why there’s Lovie!”

Martha Jo has been in my life since I was born. (That’s at least forty years ago, and I’m not admitting to a day more!) AV has been my friend for nearly a quarter of a century.  The minute I moved into a little cocoon-like apartment within walking distance of the church and joined the choir, I knew I’d found a best bud. Those two women continue to feed my imagination as I spin stories, particularly the zany comedic mysteries.  You’ll see their influence on my latest Southern Cousins Mystery, Elvis and the Buried Brides w/bonus short story.

Stars To Lead Me HomeTwo of my friends came into my life in elementary school and have remained staunch and amazing all these years – Jane Talbert and Johnie Sue Long. Over and over, my deep and abiding friendship with these two remarkable women plays out on the pages of my fiction. Stars to Lead Me Home, my latest women’s fiction novel plays on this friendship in spades! When I wrote the book, I was so emotionally invested in the characters, I laughed and cried all the way through. I put my heart right on the page. In those poignant scenes in Lillian’s home, I could imagine Jane and Johnie Sue doing exactly what Maggie and Jean did. Oh, I ADORE this book.  I know you will, too.  I hope you picture your own friends as you read this story.

There are other friends who have influenced my work, including the women who are also writers. I’m so fortunate that I can say they are too numerous to name, and if I started, I’d surely leave somebody out.

Tell me wonderful stories of you and your friends!  And do stop by to learn more about Stars to Lead Me Home and Elvis and the Buried Brides w/bonus short story.


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