Guest & Contest: Kate Lutter

True Confessions — What Writer Do

I have a confession to make.

For the last few months I’ve been blogging across the Internet, promoting my book Wild Point Island, and lying.

Not intentionally, of course.

But when I’ve been asked the question–what inspired you to write this story–I haven’t told the whole truth.

It seemed like such a simple question, and I thought I knew the answer.

But it hit me like a brick a few weeks ago–when I went back with my four sisters to visit my hometown–something I hadn’t done in years–that the inspiration behind Wild Point Island was more complicated than I thought.

You see, I truly believed the first season of True Blood, that hot HBO drama, had been my main inspiration.  After all, I had a clear memory of sitting there in front of my TV, watching the doomed romance between Bill, the 173 year old vampire and Sookie, the small town half-fairy waitress of Bontemps and then wanting to immediately create a romance like that–two people who seemed destined to be together but couldn’t for obvious reasons.

Now that part was true, but it wasn’t the whole truth, and I didn’t realize the entire truth until I tried to go back home. I stood in the once woods but now a park behind my old backyard and peeked over the fence with my sisters.  Here we were–like a bunch of peeping Toms–staring into our old backyard, noticing that the giant oak tree was gone along with the sand pile and the garden and the pool and the hedges that had once surrounded the perimeter.  Now there was only grass, surrounded by a white slatted metal fence.

Had I actually expected my old backyard to look the same?

I wanted it to.  I wanted that yard to look exactly the way it had looked the last time I’d walked through it some twenty years ago.

The awful truth struck me then.  What writers do.  I understood more clearly why and for whom we write.  We write for ourselves and use our stories to recreate the world we want to have, even though at times we’re not even aware of what we’re doing.

Case in point.

I’d written a scene in Wild Point Island where Ella, my heroine, returns to the island after having been banished as a child, twenty years before.  She returns to her childhood home.  And what does she find?  Everything is exactly the same as she left it.  Nothing has changed.  There isn’t even dust on the furniture.  I wrote that scene six months before I pilgrimaged to my home for real, never realizing how important it would be for me to have things stay the same.

In my story Ella returns home to rescue her father from imprisonment.  She hasn’t seen him in twenty years.  She fears he’s no longer alive.  She’s obsessed with the notion of getting her family back together.

And this is where I admit that returning to my hometown was a very bad idea.  My dad passed away years ago, and there was no way I was going to catch a glimpse of him in any of the usual haunts.  I knew this, of course, I did.  And yet my heart quickened every time I glanced at those spots where he’d once occupied space. Now, even the usual haunts had changed–the bakery and the church and diner.  They all played havoc with my memory.

Writing fiction is grand.  You can make it turn out anyway you want.  Ella can return home and find her childhood home exactly the way she left it.  She can find her father still alive and rescue him.  She can reunite her family.  All in the pages of a paranormal romance.

So, yes, I lied when I said my book was inspired by True Blood.  The truth was so much more complicated than that.

I just wanted to set the record straight.

* * * * *

Kate Lutter believes she was born to write. She wrote her first novel when she was in eighth grade, but then almost burned her house down when she tried to incinerate her story in the garbage can because she couldn’t get the plot to turn out right. Now, many years later, she lives in NJ with her husband and five cats (no matches in sight) and spends her days writing contemporary paranormal romances, traveling the world, and hanging out with her four wild sisters. She is happy to report that her debut novel, Wild Point Island, the first in a series, has just been published by Crescent Moon Press. She is busy writing the sequel and her weekly travel blog entitled Hot Blogging with Chuck, which features her very snarky and rascally almost famous cat.

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15 thoughts on “Guest & Contest: Kate Lutter

  1. You really can’t go home again and expect to find things anywhere near the same. I live 8 miles from my old hometown. Mom still lives there, yet every time we pass through the main road, we note changes, big, little, subtle, drastic. The biggest problem is that the people we once knew and loved have moved away or died. That’s probably what hurts the most.

  2. Maria D. says:

    You really can’t go home again – it’s unfortunately true. When I went back to one of my childhood homes several years after we had moved the new owner had changed so many things I almost didn’t recognize parts of the house – I was really unhappy about the changes he made too because they weren’t necessary, didn’t add any value to the house and actually made the house uglier in my opinion. *sigh*….Thanks for the giveaway!

    • How true. I was feeling very sorry for myself, I have to admit, especially when I saw that the oak tree was gone. But then a friend told me that in their family, they had sold their childhood home (after their mom passed away) to one of their sisters, and the first thing she did was to take out all the plants they had put in over the years for their mom. When I heard that, I thought at least strangers broke my heart, not my own sister! But thanks for the comment!!

  3. Josephine Koep says:

    Kate, your blog brought tears to my eyes remembering your mom and dad. Enjoyed your blogging with Chuck (should have read it sooner). Have to get back to reading Wild Point – loaned it to Uncle Dennis when he was in the hospital recovering from a TIA- a very mild mini-stroke. He is doing fine but needs to take a nap in the afternoon. He is probably more bored than tired! We have a lawn service that takes care of cutting the grass so he does not have that task to do. He compensates by riding the exercise bike that son-in-law Carl (Lisa’s husband) brought over (seems Carl never used it because he works at home and is either answering client’s questions or advising co-workers via the telephone).

    By the way, Dennis did not get far reading your book but he surely told everyone in sight that you wrote it. Such a doting uncle! Love, Jo and Dennis.

    • Aunt Jo,
      Your response brought tears to my eyes. Everything I wrote was absolutely true. All the sisters went back to Allison Street and when we saw that even the Oak tree was gone, well, that was the bitter end. I think I took it the hardest. As we walked back to the car–you can actually park in what used to be the woods because it’s a park now–I wished there was some kind of time tunnel that I could walk through and see the yard the way it used to be. But I guess not. Those days are gone. Well, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Take care. Love you.

  4. I hear you. Inspiration can come from several different areas of our lives. We’re not always aware from where the inspiration comes. Well, not immediately, but after some time, we come to understand.

  5. Cassandra Hicks says:

    I’m only in my early twenties and luckily for me I still live in the town I grew up in and my family is really close. Yes it has changed over the years (my family and town) but I still feel welcome if that makes any sense. No one can go back to the way things once were but you can still embrace the changes and look for the best in them while enjoying the memories.

  6. erinf1 says:

    Thanks for a great post and congrats Kate on the new release! Thank goodness, I’ve never had to try and move home. *shudders* it would not work 🙂

  7. Susan Platt says:

    I go home all the time because my parents still live in the house I grew up in! It has changed very little over the years mostly because my mom is not a big believer in change!

    susanmplatt AT hotmail DOT com

  8. Linda Mc says:

    My mom still lives in the house I grew up in, which is only about a 20 minute drive from where I live. I love “going home.” But, she is getting older, and I know a time will come when the house is no longer in our family. I think that will be tough.

  9. JoAnne says:

    I don’t think any of us can go home again due to all the changes and experiences that happen to each and everyone of us when we leave home. Sure I’ve driven past the homes I’ve lived in before but no longer felt any connection to the house or those that now live there.

  10. Crystal Newman says:

    I don’t really want to go back home again. I might visit from time to time. I have so many memories. Some good but mostly bad. Nothing is the same and I like where I’m at right now. I miss some of my family but not enough to go through all the bad things that happened to me.

  11. cky15: sure like your book excerpt that I read.I am glad that you were able to share it to get others to read it. I am always looking for new authors to read from. Thanks.
    I did like what you said about how you got the idea in returning to your hometown.
    thanks.

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