Sunday, April 18, 2010
Natalie Breckenridge in the Garden
I know, today is not Saturday, but some people are worth waiting an extra day to hear from. Today in the garden I have invited my good friend and resident sounding board, Natalie Breckenridge.
Natalie lives the life we all dream of. She spends her mornings lazily sipping coffee and reading a few chapters of her favorite books then spends the afternoon riding her adopted horse, The Bandit, and lavishing her four greyhounds with love and long runs. When I’m not green with envy of her (and secretly plotting to take over her life) I enjoy hearing her thoughts on everything from politics to pasta salad.
She confessed to me a few weeks ago that she, among the millions of other things she does daily, has decided to write a book. Then, in true Nat fashion, adds the very small detail that she has already written the small novel, 120K, and Little Brown has asked to see the full manuscript.
Hello Nat. Welcome to my garden.
Glad to be here, Ann. The weather here in North Carolina is gorgeous! No doubt, The Bandit would like to move here. The grass and the trees are so green, I feel like I’m wrapped in a perfect chef salad.
Hee, hee. Just wait a few more months. The doubt will set in and everything turns brown. For now, we will enjoy. You said your favorite color was pink, she Jeffrey and I headed out the Lowes to see what pink flowers we could find. They had none. Don’t worry, I told them you would be around soon to scold them.
Instead, we did find some wonderful Azaleas bushes and planted them around the house in honor of your visit.
Thanks, girl. They look wonderful. I still can’t get over the green. It’s everywhere.
When we spoke last, you had just mailed off you complete manuscript to Little Brown. How does it feel to give your baby away like that?
Hum. I think I am still in shock. A year ago, I gave up painting when my husband pointed out my recent surge in spending on supplies and lack of complete work. “I think you need a muse recharge,” he said, then suggested taking up a free hobby. Thank God he didn’t stop to list all the hobbies I’ve picked up and dropped over the years.
My older sister is an editor and had just complete pitching her own magazine, so I figured I was a safe beat for a short story. Night after night the story grew until I had about fifty thousand words. My sister refused to take the WIP, but suggested I keep working on it and sell it as a book.
Most of the authors I talk to started writing for fun. Did you start thinking one day you might have a best seller?
No way! Writing was a way to pass the time and sort out all the thoughts in my head. Before I married I was a Social Workers and saw some very disturbing things. This story was a way to voice what I saw in hopes to move on. As the story morphed into more of a novel, I realized giving a voice to the violence I had seen freed me in a way. Writing can become very addictive.
Well Nat, I know your story is not in publication right now, but could you give us an idea what it is about, you know for when after Little Brown jumps on it!!
Sure thing Ann. The novel is slated for young adult. The main character, Allie, has just found out she is adopted and the identity of her real parents has gone up in a cloud of smoke at the local hospital. She’s seventeen and looking forward to attending college in the Fall, but not until she knows her own identity.
As her Fall term deadline approaches, her search goes into overdrive and her life is consumed with finding her birthparents. Friendships get lost along the way and new ones foraged. In her haste, she realized she hasn’t been very picky about who she spends her time with.
One late summer night, she finds herself in the back of a police car, facing charges of robbery and attempted murder.
Don’t worry too much for poor Allie. Someone is coming to her rescue soon, her real father. Someone Allie has known most of her life.
That about sums up what I can say for now.
Sounds pretty good to me so far, Nat. I often wonder where people get their ideas for characters. Would you share where Allie came from?
Right out of college I spent a few months working at a youth home as a coordinator. Basically, I slept at the center and helped with any issues that arose during the night as well as ran the intake.
On good nights I had lots of free time, so I sat in on a few sessions with the girls. My heart broke for every one of those girls. Most where excellent young ladies who had to live through circumstances I couldn’t dream of. I often wondered what would happen if you took a child with no future and stuck her is a house with everything to offer. Allie is a mix of the different girls I met over the months and the happy ending I always hoped they would have.
Sounds like a very in-depth and emotional story. I have read the first few chapters, and a tissue box is recommended! I hope you all the best with Little Brown!
Now Nat, you know I like to ask crazy questions to give the readers a glimpse into your thoughts. Are you ready?
What must we know about you?
I don’t think you have enough room on your blog for everything. I guess the most important thing is I say the first thing that comes to mind. People not always like that about me. Deep down I’m a very nice person, but if you ask me if you look fat in a dress, and you do, I’m going to tell you.
Your guiltiest guilty pleasure?
Hum, X-rated. Cannot comment. Oh, and chocolate.
I just finished “Hush, Hush” by Becca Fitzpatrick. I know, I’ve been under a rock. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to.
Call a landscaper.
Side dish or drink for the party?
I know you mean food here, but mine would be lemonade mixed with raspberry purée and rum. Who needs food after something that good?
Sounds like a winner to me, Nat. Thank you so much for coming to my garden and sharing your writing adventure. I wish you the best of look with Publishing your work (by the way, because I haven’t said the title yet, the working title is “Allie”.
Before you go, I have one more question.
When your time comes (a long, long time from now), what mark do you hope to leave behind?
Wow. I have had to think on this one for a while. I guess I would want people to understand we are a product of our environment and to give everyone a chance to succeed. If you think about it, most of the powerful people in the world had to overcome extreme circumstances to get there.
Thank you for coming today Nat.
**Natalie Breckenridge writes under a pin name in order to protect the identity of her past clients.