by Leslie Lehr
Oh the splendors of spring! This is the perfect time to begin anew, and I defy anyone (including my husband) who insists that’s a cliché. Aren’t kittens and puppies born in the spring? Aren’t flowers blooming and berries ripening? My children were born in the spring, my new novel will be released in a few weeks, even my hair will grow back as breast cancer treatments get easier. And look at that brilliant blue sky! Can you hear the birds singing outside my office window? I did not plan the timing of any of these events. That is what spring is all about: the promise of a fresh start.
Springtime is also a splendid way to set up a story. Mother Nature provides so many details that a little sensory description goes a long way. And here is the fun part… Since we are so familiar with the warm, hopeful feelings of springtime, it can be wickedly effective to use them in contrast, or better yet, to play against them. That’s what happens in What A Mother Knows.
The Prologue begins with a fatal car accident on a dismal autumn day, soChapter One contrasts this with the main character’s happy homecoming in April.
Michelle inhaled deeply, intoxicated by the scent of orange blossoms infusing the spring air. She smiled at the sidewalk parade of baby strollers and couples holding hands as Drew drove slowly down their street. He braked for the children bicycling past, then pulled the car into the driveway. Their classic California ranch house rose up behind the picket fence like a mirage, glimmering in the last golden rays of the day.
Michelle fumbled to unbuckle her seat belt as her husband circled behind the silver Volvo and opened her door. She climbed out slowly, stiff from the long drive home from the hospital. When he gallantly offered his arm, she felt like a queen being escorted back to her castle. Her hungry eyes savored every inch of the yard until she felt dizzy and had to squeeze them shut. She opened them quickly to be sure she wasn’t dreaming. No, she was awake. After all those grueling months learning to walk again, she yearned to dance barefoot in the lush grass. She was tempted to tear the petals off those crazy-big roses and toss them in the air like confetti. And she had never seen anything quite so wonderful as the name as the name Mason spelled out on the mailbox. She was home.
And yet, soon Michelle discovers that all is not as it seems. Our expectations of spring give her – and the reader – a false sense of security. Disaster becomes all the more painful against this idyllic seasonal backdrop. And it’s so much more interesting to read.
Why not take advantage of all the splendors of springtime?
Get a FREE personalized signed book plate with every pre-order of What A Mother Knows.
Order from your favorite bookstore or via www.leslielehr.com, then email the Proof of Purchase or a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to specify the name you’d like inscribed! And with Mother’s Day just around the corner, what could be an easier way to make someone feel special than a personalized copy of What A Mother Knows?
Leslie Lehr is prize-wining novelist, essayist and screenwriter.
Her highly anticipated novel, What A Mother Knows, comes out May 7 from Sourcebooks. Visit www.leslielehr.com to schedule a Book Club Skype visit and to read the rest of Chapter One.
Follow Leslie on Tw @leslielehr1 www.facebook.com/authorleslielehr