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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Alison Henderson and Small Towns

I am really happy to introduce Alison Henderson, a talented writer and an amazing cover artist. Alison has a Christmas "present" to share with us. I was fortunate to be one of her critique partners on this collection of short stories. They are delightful.

Here's Alison with her take on small towns.




Thank you for hosting me, Diane. Like most writers, I love to talk about my books, and today I’m excited to share my new holiday short story collection, Small Town Christmas Tales: Ten Short Holiday Romances. These stories are like mini television Christmas movies, set in fictional towns in ten different states.

Before I start writing any story, long or short, I need to decide several important things about my characters. After physical appearance and basic temperament, I want to know what this person does for a living. Usually, I want the character’s occupation to tell the reader more about his or her personality, although in one of these stories the heroine’s occupation is in direct conflict with her true personality, and that’s part of the fun.

I’m a city girl and have never had what anyone would consider a fun job. I worked in insurance for thirty-seven years—NOT what I had in mind for any of my characters. I wanted them to have more colorful jobs. In Small Town Christmas Tales, a few of my heroines have what I would consider regular jobs: one is a lawyer, one a young college professor, and another works in marketing. Most of the rest, however, own small businesses. The small town settings lent themselves perfectly to creating the kind of fun, quirky small business I would want to run if I lived in a small town.

As I started writing, I was surprised that one of the most entertaining aspects of writing these stories turned out to be choosing names for those businesses. Naming is business is a lot like finding the perfect title for a book. I always need a title I like before I can jump into writing a new story, and in this collection I needed business names for the same reason. Here is a sampling of what I came up with:

A Stitch in Time – the heroine’s yarn and needlework shop in “If Wishes Were Fishes”

The Hidden Gem – the geologist heroine’s rock and handmade jewelry shop in “The Brightest Jewel”

Pearl’s Perfect Pies – the heroine’s grandma’s pie shop in “Penguins, Pucks, and Pumpkin Pies”

Tolliver’s Tiny Treasures – the heroine’s miniatures shop in “Liza’s Secret Santa”

Furry Friends – the SPCA benefit shop the heroine manages in “Second Hand Hearts”

Byte Me – the hero’s computer services business in “Christmas 2.0”

These businesses were so much fun to create, they almost made me want to go into business myself. Almost. As it is, I think I’ll stick to writing.

Thanks so much for visiting with me today. If you’re ready for a little Christmas, I invite you to check out Small Town Christmas Tales, available in ebook and paperback exclusively at Amazon. Click here!


About Alison 

I began writing when my daughter entered preschool (she's now a full-fledged adult) and became addicted to the challenge of translating the living, breathing images in my mind into words. I write romance because that's what I like to read. The world provides more than enough drama and tragedy. I want to give my readers the happily-ever-after we all crave.

I've been married to my personal hero for more than thirty years. After decades of living in the Midwest, we've recently heeded the siren call of sun and sea and moved to the most breathtakingly beautiful place imaginable - the gorgeous central coast of California. I look forward to the new stories this place inspires.


 

17 comments:

  1. I love small towns- and the business names you've thought up for them are too cute!

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    1. Thanks, Maureen. I had a lot of fun coming up with those names.

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  2. Ha! I enjoyed reading the names you picked for the small town businesses. Very cute. Your story collection sounds fabulous...definitely will be checking it out.

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    1. Since you edited one of the funniest - Mistletoe and Misdemeanors - I hope you enjoy the others, too!

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  3. I love small towns too....am from one although it keeps growing along with the rest of this area.

    Great post!
    Good luck and God's Blessings to ALL!
    PamT

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    1. I'm a city girl, Pam, so I hope small towns are as much fun to live in as they are to wrtite about.

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  4. Byte Me is a true classic! Love it! The only really clever name I've come up with was for a reality dating show that takes place in Hawaii called Get Lei'd. I was pretty proud of that one. LOL I'm a big fan of small town stories, and yours are terrific!

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    1. I don't know how/why these things just come to me, Jannine, but they do. LOL. Get Lei'd completely cracked me up. It was PERFECT!

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    2. I had to chuckle, too, over Jannine's Get Lei'd.

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    3. Laughing along w/ you all over Jannine's business name. Listen, we work so hard to authenticate businesses our novels, we do, indeed, begin to think we can run them. I swear I could run a boutique funeral planning business (Which I named: This is Your Life, Inc.) :-)

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  5. These sound like delightful stories. I love the CA central coast too--Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Avila Beach, Arroyo Grande et al. Enjoy your new home!

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    1. Thank you, Diane. We live in Carmel, and it's so beautiful here I have to pinch myself.

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  6. I love the names you created! They are so clever. Good luck to you!

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    1. Thanks, Kara. I had fun with them. Maybe I should offer my business-naming services to aspiring entrepreneurs. LOL

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  7. Alison, best of luck with your Christmas book...sounds like a winner to me!

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    1. Thanks, Rolynn. I hope readers will agree!

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  8. Absolutely LOVE your cover and small towns fit me perfectly!

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