Happy Valentine’s Day!!
When I “met” Dan and we discussed his book we both thought today was the perfect day to share his book with you. I was excited when he agreed to stop by today too.
Writing A Novel
by Dan Chabot
The best thing about writing a novel is that you actually get to create people — a privilege normally reserved to a much higher power. You can create nice people, evil people, funny people, unhappy people, regular people, irregular people.
The second best thing about writing a novel is picking names for them. What should they be called?
One of the characters in Godspeed: a love story, is named Harold Dunser. A fairly common, solid name, you might think, except that Harold Dunser was the name of my imaginary childhood friend. He lives again!
Another character is named Ossie Puddo. An unusual name, with an unusual pedigree: He was the imaginary friend of my older brother. I often wonder if Harold and Ossie ever met. After all, they lived in the same house…
Every author has his or her own favorite method for picking character names. Mine is to reach into my past and retrieve names that meant something to me. Sometimes I combine familiar names. And sometimes I just see a name in a newspaper or on the web that has a nice ring to it and borrow it for my story.
But possible character names can pop up just about anywhere. Out on the freeway, for example, I like to watch for the signs that tell the names of the towns coming up at the next exit. Some of them when used together have a distinctive ring. That’s how Dawson Steele became a character in my book.
My wife and I had three boys. We wanted a girl, too, but it was not to be. We even had a name picked out — Amedee. Our Amedee never arrived, but a fictional one did…
And if you’re a vindictive sort, you can get even with old adversaries. A very disagreeable character in the book has the same name of somebody who tormented me in the second grade. Take that, John!
Like characters, story ideas themselves can come from unlikely places. For example, the words funeral and love story are not often found together in the same sentence, but the idea behind Godspeed: a love story is based on a tragic real-life incident that had troubled me for years.
I was a young newspaperman when a good friend wound up in the situation that confronts Derry in my novel. My friend was engaged to a lovely young woman who was struck down without warning by ovarian cancer. She had no family to speak of, so it was left to him to make funeral arrangements. In his grief and the daze induced by tranquilizers, he watched helplessly as a shabby funeral home staged an embarrassing service. The rent-a-minister mispronounced her name, fumbled her biographical details, and in general presided over an ignominious travesty. Another friend, on leaving the humiliating ceremony, hissed in his wife’s ear, “Don’t ever let this happen to me.”
As I thought about my friend’s experience, turning it over in my mind and speculating on what I would have done in that situation, the idea for a novel began to take shape. I embellished and embroidered it considerably, added some interesting characters patterned after people I knew in the newspaper business, came up with some surprising twists, and created what I hope is an inspirational, sentimental story about the resilience of the human spirit, love beyond the grave, and a faith in tomorrow.
Because of the serious theme, I had to leaven the story with some doses of humor. Much of it was provided by Derry’s stable of eccentric newspaper colleagues. One of them relates how as a little girl she asked her father why people like Charlie Chaplin walked so jerkily in those old movies, and he told her it was because that’s the way people walked in those days. In another incident, when Derry invites Amedee up to his apartment, she makes friends immediately with his dog, who is scratching furiously at an ear. “Oh, now I get it,” she says impishly. “You lured me up here, an innocent maiden, to see your itchings.” And Derry’s encounter with an earthy, profane, inner-city minister also adds some counterbalance to the overall message
But writing the book took a while. I dabbled at it here and there, writing a chapter now and then, revising it, rewriting it, but the progress was pretty slow. Then one day I read a quotation that got my attention. It said, “Most people die with their music still inside.”
That comment inspired me to finally finish the book. I certainly don’t pretend to have written a symphony, but at least I whistled a little tune! And if any of you have an idea for a book, or a poem, or a song, or any kind of a project, my advice to you is: Get going! Go do it! Sing your song!
In this era of self-publishing it’s not difficult to turn your manuscript into a finished product. The hard part is getting it noticed, because you don’t have a big publishing house and its promotional resources behind you. After you tell your friends and family about your new adventure, you’re on your own to promote it.
That’s why a lot of authors turn to reviewers like Lori. You ask them to take a look at your book, and in a perfect world maybe they’ll like it and tell others about it. A lot of authors have been ignored by agents and the big publishing houses, and yet went on to write best-sellers because bloggers like Lori noticed their work and spread the word.
So thank you, Lori, for the chance to put my book out there before your many followers. I hope they come away from it with both a smile and a tear.
Dan, you are so welcome!! Now let me tell you more about this book!
Godspeed: A love story
Self Published (June 20, 2012)
Paperback: 306 pages
E-Book File Size: 469 KB
Derry and Amedee meet during her first day on the job at the Milwaukee Ledger. Their love affair is intense and pure and should last forever. Life throws us curves and Derry receives a big one. Will he survive?
I purposely gave you a very short synopsis. I think the reason I such a powerful reaction to the story was because I read it cold, with only scant details of where the story would lead.
It is a love story of an enduring love, told in a ingenious way that really leaves the reader solving a bit of a mystery. A rich tender story filled with emotion but tempered with humor and uplifting moments that balance out what could have turned this into a very heavy story. There is a message – an inspirational one – but this really is a story about life and how one man deals with the cards he is dealt.
Beautifully written, clever characters and the stories within the story, the testimonials, really moved me. My only criticism was when the author tried to take this old fashioned love story to a steamy place for a few paragraphs. The story is so strong he really didn’t need to go there at all.
Have some tissues handy, pour a nice glass wine and curl up with Godspeed. It is a love story you will truly love.
About This Author
Chabot spent 35 years in the newspaper business as a writer, editor and columnist, so he is comfortable writing about big-city newsrooms, the primary setting for his inspirational tale of love and loss, despair and redemption.
He grew up in Ontonagon, Michigan, and worked for several newspapers before joining the staff of the Milwaukee Journal. For many years he was the editor of the Journal’s popular and beloved Green Sheet feature section.
Chabot and his wife, Mary Ellen, now reside in Florida. They are the parents of three grown sons and just recently welcomed a fifth grandchild.
For more information check out his webpage www.godspeed-lovestory.com
Would you like to win a copy of Godspeed?
I am giving away my review copy!!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”