Promise House is a series of short stories I’ve been pondering for some time. I didn’t grow up in the 1950’s, but I did grow up in a small community filled with people for whom the traditional values of the 1950’s were very important.
As I grew into my teen and young adult years, I tended to see only the restrictive nature of small town life — everyone knows who you are, who your parents are, and what you’ve been up to. I wanted to get away from that as soon as I could!
But somehow, when I moved to Houston to attend graduate school, I found myself living in the Houston Heights, which has a very small town feel despite being perched on the north side of a major metropolitan city.
One of the qualities that attracted me to the Heights was its diversity. The city itself was originally laid out with plots of various sizes, which encouraged small houses, large houses, and multi-family homes to be interspersed. My first home in the Heights was a garage apartment behind a big rental bungalow shared by three Rice University students; my second was a three-story freestanding townhome down the road from an RV park. The Victorian style of architecture was, of course, the norm.
The excellent cover artist Fiona Jayde has created a lovely concept for this series, and I’m grateful to her for enduring my poking and nitpicking over design elements and colors… When she asked me to point her to covers that reflected the general tone or feel of my stories, I was at a loss. In the romance writing world, the 1950’s don’t count as “historical” and when I searched on Amazon and GoodReads for any books set in this timeframe, I could find only nonfiction. So she went above and beyond to create a concept that is poignant and fun. And what screams the 1950’s like polka dots?
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve put any writing out there with my real name on it… It’s especially nerve-wracking because the Promise House series is so very different than anything I’ve ever written before — and not just in length. I discovered as I was writing it that I’m much more emotionally invested in these stories than in anything else I’ve ever written. Dear Him tells me that when he compares Caroline with The Orchid Hunter, it’s as though a different person entirely is writing. We’ll see how things go.
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