August 2022 Featured Article
BFFs & a Cheeky Nephew By Mary Davis
Everyone needs a BFF. Such was the case with the hero, Lamar, in the fifth book in my Quilting Circle series, The Lady’s Mission. I started out with a hero and nothing else. Lamar had shown up in the previous books in the series, but never got the girl. It was time for him to have his own love story.
Lamar came from a wealthy family and managed his grandmother’s estate. Grandmama had taken it upon herself to find him a suitable bride. Who would be the right woman to pair with him? Someone smart and independent. In walked a giggly socialite with shopping on her mind. “What are you going to do about that, Lamar?”
Next, Lamar needed something to do, so I asked my critique partners. One of them suggested a hot-air balloon. My knowledge of these balloons could fit in a thimble with room to spare. I did not want to do all the research needed to have one in my story. However, it was too late. Lamar loved the idea, and there was no wrestling it away from him. So, I jumped into the research and learned to “fly” a hot-air balloon from the safety of my writing chair.
Once I had the right woman, his hobby, and began writing, I had in the back of my mind that I needed to find a best friend for Lamar and wondered who in Kamola might fit the bill. No one jumped out, but I kept looking around town.
Then I went over the mountains to help my mom move. Other family members helped too. Once we had all Mom’s stuff in her new place, we went out to dinner before the two-hour drive home back over the mountains. As I sat across from my nephew (in his mid-thirties) who sported a six-inch beard, he said, “So, Aunt Mary, when are you going to put me in one of your books?” I don’t put my relatives in my books lightly. But through the conversation, I agreed he could be a character in the next book I was working on.
Thomas’s number one requirement was for his character have dialogue so that in the “movie version” he would have a speaking part. He also wanted to be a world-famous buffalo-wing eater. “Sorry, Thomas, buffalo wings weren’t a thing in 1894.” He has plenty of dialogue and does get to eat chicken wings. But since this is a quilting series, he also gets to quilt. My nephew liked this idea. The character inspired by my nephew made a great best friend for my hero. From the moment the character stepped onto the page, he stole scenes.
I’m so glad Thomas asked to be in my novel—otherwise, Lamar’s best friend wouldn’t have been half as interesting. The Lady’s Mission releases in October 2022, and is available for preorder now.