Checking the Wild Rose Press site, it looks like we are a week away from having "Dream in Color" back on the site as a "coming soon" book! And after that, we are a month away from the actual release! Whoo hoo!
I have to tell the story of how this book came to be. See, it's no secret, to anyone who knows me, that I've had more than my share of celebrity crushes over the years. It started with Randy Mantooth, Tv's Johnny Gage, when I was about six and Emergency was a hit. I was positive Johnny would marry me someday and we'd be an unstoppable paramedic team. Never mind the 22 year age difference.
There were others over the decades, Erik Estrada, Mark Harmon (As a blond in 240-Robert) John Bennett Perry (Also from 240 Robert). As a child and a young teen I liked my heroes...heroic. In fact, my second book, "Lies in Chance" actually started out with the two main male characters being paramedics. (They are now parochial school teachers, because, well, you write what you know, right?)
As I got older, my celebrity crushes got more, musical. Mike Reno from Loverboy, Lou Gramm from Foreigner, Steve Perry from Journey, Barry Manilow...(I know, I know...) And, of course, Rick Springfield. (That one's lasted me a good long time!)
It's not often a person like me living in Wisconsin, gets to meet her childhood crushes, but back in 2000 and 2001 I had that opportunity to meet both Randy Mantooth and Rick Springfield. In 2000 The TV show Emergency was being put into the Smithsonian and the powers the be thought it would be cool to move much of the show's trappings, and some of the cast across the country for meet and greets. That worked really well in California, but by the time the show started moving eastward, most of the cast dropped out for one reason or another. Not Randy, though. He made a lot of appearances by himself. And I got to meet him in Chicago on a very hot, sunny day. He could not have been more gracious to the throngs of Midwestern folk who lined up to meet him. I rank that day as one of the best in my life...and I looked great in the photo with him!
In the spring of 2001 I got to meet Rick Springfield at the Potowatami Bingo Casino in Milwaukee. He does a 4-5 day stint in Milwaukee each year and he was, that year, signing his newest album Shock Denial/Anger/Acceptance after the concert. Again, he was awesome, even if Bucky, his handler, was less than amused by the line up of middle aged women. Again, great night, and, while I look less fabulous in the photo, I still treasure it.
Those two events sparked "Dream in Color." I met so many people, women mostly, in those lines and online in groups and chat rooms, all who shared my same crush. In my real life I've been mocked a little for my crushes. But online....well, that was like being in a room with everyone who agrees exactly with you about your favorite thing. the thing was, the stories those women told me about their own lives were...I guess some would say sad. There were stories of lonely, single women, women in terrible relationships, women with terrible jobs. But there was one shining light in all of that. Their crushes on an aging celebrity who had been their crushes forever.
I never thought any of the women I met in those lines were sad, or pathetic. I have always thought that everyone has that one little piece of them that clings to a happy memory, or a happy moment. For me, it was Saturday night at 8 PM when the klaxons of Station 51 sounded, and then later, when "Don't Talk to Strangers" blared out of my stereo speakers. There was a little piece of me that said, "Someday, he's going to stand on my doorstep and fall in love with me."
Of course, I'm married to a man I adore and I have two children...who are teens and therefore not all that adorable, still I love them. I have a job and a church and friends. So when I sat down to write "Dream in Color" I was all set to write Ramona's story as my story...someone who had a crush but was living another dream, a simpler dream.
But a funny thing happens with writers. We writers don't write so much as we take dictation. Any writer who says they don't have voices in their head is simply lying or not listening hard enough. Characters have a way of making their desires known. In "Lies in Chance" I wanted Shara to be a damsel in distress. After trying to write her big distress scene several times I listened and I heard her scream, "I'M NOT SOME STUPID DAMSEL IN DISTRESS." So I put a pitchfork in her hand and let her fight. It's what she wanted.
And the same with "Dream." That book is so different from my original plan, I barely recognize it. I think my editor would laugh at my early drafts. I know some agents did. I can tell from their rejection letters. To make that book work I had to sit down and LISTEN to Ramona.
So "Dream in Color" in spite of what those who know me would like to believe, is not my story. It's Ramona's story. It's the story for all those women I met in line and the women I met online. It's a salute to loyal fans. It's a love letter to those aging celebrities who understand and reach out to those fans with sincerity and generosity.
As the day draws closer, I am more excited, more nervous, and more pleased that this book is coming out. I hope, if nothing else, that the book entertains the reader and inspires other writers to listen to the voices in their heads.
Those are good voices. They know what they want!