Sunday, November 01, 2015

About Mr. Congenlaity

This week's Book of the Week is Mr. Congeniality. I'll be posting the links and excerpt tomorrow, but today I thought I'd share with you the letter I wrote to readers when the book was published in 2002. People often ask writers where we get our ideas. In fact, next to how much money we make, it's probably the most-asked question we encounter. So here's a little about the idea for Mr. Congeniality.

July 2002
Dear Reader,

One of the questions that authors are frequently asked is where we get ideas for the stories we write. As a reader myself, I’m always fascinated to hear about those snippets of conversation, moments glimpsed from the train or the car, stories on the evening news, and songs on the radio that spark other imaginations and turn into the seeds from which stories grow.

Mr. Congeniality got its start about three years ago. I was half-heartedly watching a cooking show on television, trying to take my mind off the fact that I had to pay bills. I don’t remember what was on the menu or even which show it was. But I do remember glancing up once to see a chef (who was quite obviously from the city) standing along the bank of a stream in the mountains of the American West.

As I watched, the chef began pulling tin containers, linen napkins, and assorted trinkets from a saddle bag--things she’d hauled up the mountainside by horseback so she could create an artistic arrangement of hors d’oeuvres along the trail. By the time she cheerfully assured her viewing audience that presentation is vitally important even in the mountains, my bills were forgotten, Annie Holladay had come to life, and Dean Sheffield had crept into the shadows of my mind.
Photo from Unsplash
I’ve been visiting Annie and Dean off-and-on ever since that day. They weren’t always the easiest couple to work with. In fact, they were frustratingly uncooperative at times, and I officially gave up writing their story several months ago, making a solemn vow never to look at it or think of it again. The very next morning I was standing in line at the bank when Dean perched on my shoulder and began whispering the secrets I’d been searching so hard to find on my own.

Mr. Congeniality is a story about forgiving and healing, about loving and laughing, about letting go and hanging on. It’s about life with teenagers and all the joy—and occasional pain—that comes with the territory. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.


I dedicated this book to my male cousins because I'm lucky enough to have the best cousins around. So once again, this is for you, 

Gary, Ted, Bart
Tony, Ray
Carter (Jeff), Chris, Jay, Todd
Blaine, Brad, Garth
Clay, Clint, Blake
Mike, Steve and Sam
Thanks for a lifetime of laughter and memories!


stanalei said...

I don't think I've read this one, Sherry. Looking forward to getting it on my TBR shelf!

Sherry Lewis said...

Thanks Stanalei, I hope you enjoy it!