Monday, August 4, 2008


My daddy's garden. (scaled back considerably from my growing up years!)

We writers are advised to write what we know. This might mean that the overall theme of a book or story will be based on a writer's experience. Or it might simply mean that a story is infused with details drawn from a writer's life.

In BLUE, my character plants her father's peas after he goes off to war. The garden is pretty much left in Ann Fay's care. And yes, this grows directly out of my own life experience. My father who is in his 80's, still makes every effort to plant his peas in February of each year.

I know vegetable gardens. For as long as I can remember, I along with my 7 siblings, spent summer evenings in the garden. Planting, watering, weeding and picking! I think love of the soil is bred in me. Digging in the dirt is still my favorite part of gardening.

And, oddly enough, harvesting is sometimes my least favorite. Maybe it's a little rebellion harking back to lazy July mornings when we had to get up early to pick lima beans before it got hot! In those days I hated lima beans. (And I despised those soft-bodied yellow bugs squishing under my fingers when I picked.) We complained loudly that we had to plant lima beans, pick them, shell them and then, adding insult to injury, we had to eat them!

But somewhere along the way I learned to love limas. Vegetables, in general, make me really happy.

Gardening can make a "poor" girl feel downright rich. I mean, if you've got fresh tomatoes and corn-on-the-cob, you've got just about everything. If you have the skills to grow your own food, you not only have food, you have a legacy to hand down to your children and theirs too.

What's for dinner? Produce from my daddy's garden!

See why Ann Fay loves her daddy?


  1. Very well said, especially "if you've got fresh tomatoes and corn-on-the-cob, you've got just about everything." Ain't that the truth!??!

    I love this post. Thanks for sharing from your experiences. And for the cucumbers too!

  2. I like the growing better than the harvesting also. Except for apples because they make good pies.

  3. Mmmm...brings back memories from my own youth. We had gardens—3 of them. And I used to love shelling the peas. Of course I think only about half of them ever made it to the pot. Most went straight into my mouth right out of the pod.

    And I knew there was a reason your description of Ann Fay's gardening was so pitch perfect. If you look at my last book (when it finally gets published!), the little bits about horses spring from my life, as well as a host of other details.

    So now that I'm heading south, should I plant peas on Valentine's Day?

  4. Ghost Girl - GA is warmer than NC so I suspect you will want to put those peas in by Valentines or soon after.

    Hey, what part of GA? I want to find you on the map.

    I would assume your travels between PA and GA take you thru the eastern part of NC but, if by chance, you're coming my way, you are more than welcome!

    Can't wait to read your book (I should've had your horse expertise with Healing Water.

    Any word from Dream Editor?