Friday, November 18, 2016

Another 'Story Behind the Story' ♦ Janetta Fudge Messmer

Please welcome author Janetta Fudge Messmer as she shares the Story Behind the Story here this week. Thank you so much, Janetta, this is a great behind-the-scenes peek into your books.  Now, take it away, as they say!

My debut novel, Early Birds, was a God thing from the beginning. And the story started when we rescued our dog, Maggie, in 2012.

Every night when we came home from work, our new pooch would have such a forlorn look on her face when we let her out of her crate. One evening my hubby said, “Hon, I think she’s telling us to quit our jobs, get an RV, and hit the road. She wants us to spend more time with her.”

Trust me, Maggie didn’t audibly tell us to do all of the above, but us teasing about her ‘saying’ it got us thinking. Since Ray would turn 60 on his next birthday and could retire early—this RV thing sounded like something to pursue.

The idea got me thinking, too. What a splendid idea for a book? And it came from our four-legged friend. Who’d have thought?

September 1, 2013 the three of us headed out in our truck and 5th wheel trailer. November of that year, during NaNoWriMo (National Novel WritingMonth), I wrote a rough draft (52,000+) of Early Birds.

I tell people (at book signings or anyone who will listen), “The book is loosely based on our life. Our dog told us to quit our jobs, sell everything, buy an RV, and hit the road. I added two other quirky characters, since we’re boring. Ben, Betsy, Rose and Larry get On the Road Again. J

Yes, Willie Nelson came along for a ride in my book, or at least his song did. But first I had to get permission to use the lyrics to On the Road Again. This proved harder than writing the novel, but six months after I first contacted Mr. Nelson, I had the okay to use his song.

A happy day, for sure. But an even happier one occurred when Cynthia Hickey (Winged Publication) published Early Birds January 25, 2016. Ever since, I’ve been doing a joyful jig (and promoting the book, writing Book #2—Southbound Birds, and traveling in our RV). 

Southbound Birds (another NaNoWriMo—November 2015) happened because the characters, especially Rose Wilford, wouldn’t shut up. She kept talking and the other characters followed along. What could I do, but listen to them and write another book?

Back cover blurb:

Rose and Larry Wilford are hitting the highway on their next RV adventure. Ben and Betsy Stevenson are right behind them in their 5th wheel. The other two Early Birds, Jeff and Mary Miller, promise to hook up with them as soon as they finish some ‘business’ in Colorado.

On their way to Florida, they make a stop in Mississippi. Soon Rosie wonders if they’ll ever get On the Road Again. The RVs have stalled in Biloxi and it has nothing to do with mechanical issues in any of their rigs. They’ve found another church that needs their help.

Rose, Betsy and Mary spend their days as fashion consultants, dressing young women for success (or as Rosie says, “Playing dress up.”). Larry, Ben and Jeff, they’re up to their eyeballs in sheetrock and drywall mud, and any other handyman task they can find to do.

The one thing Rosie has decided, if and when they start traveling toward the Sunshine State, she’ll still occupy the passenger seat of their dually. No driving for her. Larry can pester her all he wants.

And the fact her bestest friend, Betsy, drove their albatross on I-10 and lived to tell about it, won’t change her mind either. The only way Rose will get behind the wheel is if the Lord, Himself, figures out a way to put her there. ‘Cause at the moment, F.E.A.R. is her middle name.

Instead of legally changing her name or letting trepidation win, Rosie does what she does best. She PRAYS. Larry, on the other hand, is having troubles too. His prayer is that their 5th wheel survives his driving and he’s not sure it will. One more mishap and he’s handing the keys to his wife.

The Early Birds continue to have as many surprises as the state of Florida has palm trees. So why don’t you come along, if you dare. Rose, Larry, Ben, Betsy, Jeff and Mary (and some new friends) would love to have you join them on their travels across the U.S.A.  

There you have the story behind my debut novel, Early Birds and the sequel, Southbound Birds. I’m working on a third called Girly Birds (remember, it’s November again). It’s a novella set in Estes Park, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Release date: June 2017.

So you see, it’s always good to listen to the voices in your head. In my case, it was the Lord and our precious pooch, Maggie. Together we were able to make people laugh and share the gospel. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

Happy Writing!!!
Janetta Fudge Messmer

PS: If you’ve never done NaNoWriMo, try it. I’m not sure why this method works for me, but it does. I believe it’s the challenge of writing every day and sticking to the word count. The challenge also helps me stay on track.

Janetta Fudge-Messmer is an inspirational author, editor and speaker. She's received Honorable Mention for fiction and nonfiction articles from Byline Magazine. She also received Honorable Mention for a fiction article from Writer's Digest Magazine. Her article, "A Working Relationship" was published in Guideposts Magazine. Guideposts Books published, "Shorthaired Miracle”. Along with writing, Janetta also speaks at seminars, helping others to “Tell Your Story”. Janetta, her husband Ray and precious pooch Maggie, became full-time RVers in 2013 and love traveling around the USA in their Minnie Winnie.


Early Birds and Southbound Birds are Available on Amazon:  

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