Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Archive for February, 2020

Keeping Historical Figures Real by Mary Sheeran

All about historical fiction

When people learn that I’m an author, they often ask about my writing process, the characters I create, and how I come up with ideas for stories.Today, author Mary Sheeran talks about creating characters for her novels.Interesting stuff! When she isn’t writing, Mary is singing or performing in some way and has played leads in Brigadoon, Stop the World, and Cabaret.


Keeping Historical Figures Real – by Mary Sheeran

Novels deal with real people. Just because the people are creations of our imagination does not make them unreal. If you’re like me, you live with your characters, and they live with you. And I try to remember: every character in my novel is mine, made from my imagination and my knowledge.

In historical novels, however, some of those people may have walked the earth. Readers may even know their names and have opinions about…

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Photograph Inspired Tales #IWSG


Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month’s question is:

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

dear arlie_3 friends

Snapshots from the Past

I’m laughing as I re-read this month’s question, posted to us from the awesome Insecure Writer’s Support Group. You’re asking me – the self-proclaimed Queen of the Antique Stores? The one who can’t always afford to buy the coveted treasures she sees displayed on the shelves and counters?

Ah, but never feat…I can afford to buy photographs and postcards, and thus have filled up my own coffers with these wondrous paper delights. Some of these photographs, and many of the postcards, have been making their way into my Vintage Daze Short Stories. Although many tales are still in the ‘In Progress’ status, and some in the done–but-editing-phase, one short story is completed and published.

Dear Arlie began with some postcards I inherited from Pauline, an elderly woman that I grew up next door to. The postcards she sent to a friend from 1907-1911 kicked off the story, but then I added vintage photographs from her companion, Bea’s, scrapbook to embellish Dear Arlie.


Another postcard that I discovered in an antique store on one of my jaunts inspired the beginning of a story, The Grotto. The Grotto is a magnificent creation in Iowa that is still in existence.  On this story, I had many snippets of Iowa history that I wanted to include, but they were from a wide range of time. Wanting to stay within a short story length and not have a full saga, on this story I have a current day woman visiting her grandmother that suffers from dementia. This way the different periods of time come out in varying memories through their visits. This story is only about halfway completed. It got pushed aside last year so I could start working on some Christmas short stories and I haven’t returned to it yet.

I have a feeling that many authors reading this will be nodding their heads in agreement about the ‘never returned to it yet’ phrase.

Now, thanks to this delightful prompt from my IWSG friends, I feel inspired to blow the dust off of the sitting stories and finish a few of them up in this brand new year and brand new decade. Thanks IWSG!


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