Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Story in Your Own Backyard

About five miles from where I live is the lovely historical neighborhood of Myers Park. That doesn't exactly qualify as my "backyard" does it? But when my friend and fellow author, Joyce Moyer Hostetter, relayed that her editor, Carolyn Yoder, encourages writers to dig for stories that are figuratively in their own backyards, I decided that Myers Park would qualify for me. Joyce, by the way, first heard that advice at a Highlights Founders Workshop and turned around and wrote BLUE, a novel which is the story of the polio epidemic in Joyce's hometown of Hickory, NC. Obviously, Carolyn's advice paid off for Joyce and I hope that it will pay off for me too!

As I mentioned in my "That's the way it was" post, I have been interviewing a variety of people and hearing their stories about Charlotte. I drive around and look at my hometown for the last 22 years with new eyes. Which home were here 60+ years ago? Which roads, businesses, and homes didn't exist? Instead of the homes along the main roads that lead out of town, what did the farms look like? What happened to Briar Creek that Mr. James Ross (pictured here) used to play in? What happened to Henderson Dance Studio where Liz Medearis (another interviewee) used to go for dance lessons? What happened to the armory where Liz and her teenage friends used to go to and listen to Count Basie?

For every question I answer, a new one pops up. But like a huge jigsaw puzzle, I am finding pieces that eventually I hope to fit together into a young adult novel. Meanwhile, I am having fun as I discover the story of Anna Marie Dinsmore, my fourteen-year-old protagonist who just moved in with her Myers Park grandparents after her father left to serve in Korea. Stay tuned, and you'll hear the story as she tells it to me. After all, this is her story, and I just happen to live in her backyard.

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1 comment:

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Oh, I love that line about living in Ann Marie's backyard! And yes, it is all about listening! You are getting in some great interviews! Wow! Way to go!

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