Thursday 21 January 2010

What if... A Writer's Tale.

Today, romance and imagination is in the air as author Linda Poitevin stops by my blog as part of her virtual book tour.  She has brought with her a lively discussion on the topic "what if" and a sneak peek at her debut novel, A Fairy Tale for Gwyn.
 There are also prizes (artisan-crafted earrings and a $10 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press) up for grabs, so don't forget to comment.

Join in, and glimpse into the mind of a writer...

What If? (Two words that are a writer’s best friend)

Waiting at a traffic light, I see a leather-clad woman astride a Harley Davidson motorbike. My first thought: cool. My second: what if? What if she was really an undercover cop? What if she saw an accident and stopped to help? What if she saved a man’s life and he - ?

A few years ago, this was my actual thought process not a block from my home. It was also the first time I realized how big a role these two little words played in my life as a writer. What if? They can happen out of the blue, when I’m least expecting them, or I can call on them when I’ve hit a road block in a story.

What if, really, can provide the inspiration for any story element. Need a character? What if that harried-looking woman in front of you at the coffee shop just inherited her sister’s five children but no means to provide for them? Or maybe you need a story starter. What if she was on her way to an interview that would mean moving them into a decent home? What if a man ran into her at the door and she spilled her coffee down his shirtfront,  and then twenty minutes later discovered he was her potential new boss?

I began to realize the full potential of the what if tool in A Fairy Tale for Gwyn. The inspiration for the entire book began with a beautiful heritage home in my neighbourhood – what if a single mom lived there, and that gorgeous addition on the back was her own work, because she’s an architect? – and the story unfolded from there.  Whenever I found myself stuck and unable to move forward, what if provided the impetus I needed. When my critique partners pointed out a fatal lack of internal conflict, what if gave my hero a secret past. When I needed to slow things down between my hero and heroine, my critique partner asked, “what if he had to leave town unexpectedly?” and just like that, I was back on track.

Inspiration, problem-solving, motivation, and so much more. Two words, small, deceivingly simple, and backed by a whole world of story possibilities. Try it yourself, if you don’t already, and let me know where your answers lead you.  What if...?

About the Author:

Linda Poitevin lives just outside Canada’s capital, Ottawa, with her husband, three daughters, and a varied collection of animals. In her spare time, she gardens (organically), cans and freezes the family’s winter fruit and vegetable supply, knits (basically), crochets (better), and  starts way  more projects than she ever finishes. (Fortunately that doesn’t hold true of her books!) She loves spending time with her family, having coffee with friends, walking by the river and watching thunderstorms…in about that order.

You can find all the information on A Fairy Tale for Gwyn at the author's website:

You can find all her blog tour stops here:

A Fairy Tale for Gwyn:

Gwyn Jacobs doesn’t believe in happy-ever-after.

Ever since her ex-husband walked out four years ago, abandoning her with a toddler and infant twins, Gwyn has been mother, father, and bread-winner all rolled into one. Her own scarred heart and failed marriage aside, she is determined not to open up her children’s lives to the possibility of another heartbreak...until her very own fairy tale falls into her lap -- and the hero won’t take no for an answer!

      “It’s me. Did I wake you?” Rich, dark tones washed over her, velvet-smooth.
      Gwyn clutched at the duvet and dragged it up to her chin. Her traitorous heart thudded against its confines. She swallowed. Cleared her throat. Managed a barely coherent, “No. I was awake.”
      “Me too.”
      She wiped sweaty palms against the duvet, one at a time.
      “I miss you,” he said.
      She squeezed her eyes shut and coached herself through the forgotten art of breathing.   Inhaleexhale…                                               
      Gareth’s voice deepened, roughened. “Tell me you’re suffering as much as I am.”
      “The truth.”
      The ache that had started in her belly spread relentlessly outward. He wanted the truth. But how could she tell him something she was still trying to avoid acknowledging?
      “Gwyn?” the deep voice prompted, with an edge to it that startled her. A rawness that echoed her own state.
      “I’m here.”
      She exhaled shakily and tightened her fingers around the receiver. “And I’m suffering, too,” she whispered.


Becca Dale said...

Linda, A Fairy Tale for Gwyn sounds wonderful - I love a strong heroine. As for What If ---- I agree that those two simple words hold incredible power to get the juices flowing. I had not used them when stuck within a book before. What a great idea. Thanks, Becca Dale

Linda Poitevin said...

I'm happy I was able to help, Becca -- I hope they lead you to all kinds of wonderful places!


Julie Grissom said...

"What if" is my mantra so I know where you're coming from! Fairy Tale For Gwyn has piqued my interst for sure.

Marta Stephens said...

Linda, what a wonderful writer's voice you have. Crime is my genre, but I have to admit that I can't help writing a bit of romance into each novel and your excerpt pull me right in.

All the best,

Linda Poitevin said...

Thanks, Julie! :)


Linda Poitevin said...

Marta, what a lovely compliment! Thank you -- you've absolutely made my day!


Stacey Smith said...

love your post.I always watch people and wounder what the life is like.and have lots of what ifs in my life.I'm a Dreamer

Linda Poitevin said...

I'm a big people-watcher, too, Stacey. When I was young, I loved to walk at night, when I could see into people's houses as they were sitting down to dinner or watching television and I could imagine what their lives might be like. Hmm...sounds rather voyeuristic, doesn't it... :)

Thanks for stopping in, fellow dreamer!


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

All 8 of my manuscripts/novels start with the question: What if? Thanks for sharing. The excerpt was wonderful!

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