This story first came to me from a friend's suggestion. Sarah pointed me to a published internet article about Fairmount Children's Home. I was fascinated as I read the article and later discovered it not to be true, but the seeds of intrigue had been sown. The birth of the novel began.
I held a meet-and-greet at Frank's Family Restaurant (you MUST try their meatloaf!) in Alliance, Ohio on January 20, 2016. Over 25 people attended the event. I recorded the day's conversations to aid in my note taking. I was given a copy of Russell Wagner's memoir, a gift I treasure and referred to numerous times. I asked those in attendance for everyday stories. I received that and so much more.
In the days, weeks, and months to follow, I received over 70 emails, letters, more memoirs, social media messages, and telephone calls. Oh, the stories I heard! Some I used, many I could not, but the out-poring of support amazed me.
After 11 short weeks, the story was complete. Then came editing. My normal group of focus readers read the novel. As usual a few changes were suggested and a somewhat changed ending was written. Again, they read it. All agreed we were close, but a few tweaks were still required. After a third re-write of the last five chapters, of Home went off to the editors.
I took the suggestion of Mary in Minerva to link this novel to my second work, pieces. My hope is to create a modern-day Hardy Boys series for young adults to seniors. pieces will serve as an anchor for many stories to come (I have already started of bones). No, it's really not a sequel, but revisiting the anchor book, pieces, will give the reader a clearer view of the character Collin Sims that will lead in these future adventures.
I pray this novel stirs your emotions to what may have been had I or you lived in Fairmount. The years of stories and many imagined as well, melted nicely in one time period. The fictional characters of baby Willy, Belle, and Henry will strike a chord with all of us. I hope in the end, you will cheer for the underdog, sneer at evil, and rise above the muddy water to be the best person you could ever be. That's what the Gates' children do within the pages of "of Home."
I am thrilled to announce speakeasy is finished and launched on Halloween 2014! Thank you to everyone of you who purchased a novel to make this book our most successful to date! I am thrilled to tell you the story has been entered for many different prestigious awards, and although the preliminary judging has begun with some, others are just beginning their submission requests. No matter what the outcome I will always be thrilled AND grateful to Dwight Jon Zimmerman for his help, guidance, and willingness to grant a cover endorsement. What an honor! Thank you again, Dwight. For more information on Dwight's amazing success as a #1 New York Times best-selling author visit: http//www.defensemedianetwork.com/author/dwight-jon-zimmerman/
The idea for this story came to me though and 84 year-young gentleman who came to visit me at Olde English Garden Company in Salem, Ohio. It was a quiet rainy afternoon as he shared his stories of the speakeasy that occupied the third floor in the 1920's and into the early '30s. My fingers wrote as quickly as possible (with many words I still can't decipher). I listened as Louie explained how his father used to drag him up the stairs after his dad came home from work. "I wasn't the only kid there," he said with a wink. "We used to hide under the skirted table and watch the dancers. Sometimes they would drop money." He closed his eyes and relived the stairs, the bar, the skirted round tables, the band, the dancers, the mouth speak door, the bottle doors, the cloakroom, the smell, and the staff. He even remembered the series of secret knocks to gain access. He told me all but the password.
speakeasy was born. I ran up the double set of stairs to the third floor after he left and found what Louie described. Although much had been removed a stack of the bottle doors, the baseboard outlining both stages, the chandelier escutcheon, and the cloakroom remained.
Louie's stories haunted me for a decade until now - 2014 - speakeasy comes back to life! This mystery will pull you in, consume your dreams, and fill you with wonder until all is told. Come help us celebrate. As always, I welcome your feedback and appreciate your Amazon reviews. ENJOY...