Monday, October 25, 2010

Guest Blogger Stephanie Humpreys

Stephanie Humpreys lives in Alberta with her husband and three children. She spends most of her time writing. Finding Rose is her first novel.

From the back cover you read - On his deathbed, Rose Sterling's father asks her to consider Miles Crandall as a suitor. Then Rose is sent to live with an uncle in Spring Creek, Montana, far from her carefree life with her family in Utah. Miles is returning to his hometown of Spring Creek to set up a medical practice, so Rose is certain her being sent there is a setup. Yet Miles doesn't seem interested in her, and after Rose falls ill in Montana, he seems content to act as her physician and friend. When Rose captures the attention of Miles's younger, flamboyant brother as well as the town sheriff, Miles retreats even further from any attempt at courtship.

I loved this book from the first page until the very end. All the characters seemed so real and it didn’t take long for me to care about what they were doing. Rose and her brother Sean had a close relationship, and I could almost hear him telling her, “You don’t marry someone to help him. You marry someone who is equally matched to you.”

My heart ached when Rose had to tell her family good-bye. I can’t even imagine how I would feel if I had been sent far away to live with strangers. Rose encountered many different challenges and adventures. She met and helped many new friends. It took her a long time to realize that she couldn’t marry someone who didn’t share her beliefs and someone she didn’t love. She would rather be an old maid than marry without love in her heart.

Now for the blog from our guest Stephanie

Just Wait Until You See Amazing

Yesterday I played the piano for my daughter when she sang in church. She has had a sore throat and cold over the last week, and as we were practicing Saturday night she was concerned that her voice would crack and she wouldn’t do as well as she usually does. Still, she was confident that she would do fine. Her vocal teacher told her that she already has “very good” down pat and now she has to work on being amazing. But even if she has a less than stellar performance, as long as she puts in her best effort, the audience will still love “very good”.

How often do we do something well, but won’t share with others because it isn’t amazing? When working on a manuscript, I can edit for months and still feel like the words just aren’t cooperating with me. The temptation to hide it in a drawer and never let anyone see it is always there, yet I know that letting the story molder away in a corner defeats the purpose. I write for others. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing something that flowed from my pen has touched someone’s life and got them thinking. That hidden away manuscript doesn’t help anyone, especially me.

I often have to bite my tongue when someone tells me about a scene in my book that they particularly loved. So often the first thoughts in my mind are how I could make it better, because let’s face it, nothing is perfect. When I step back and think about the comments I’ve received, I realize that the stories I tell can touch people’s lives despite their imperfections.

It’s like my daughter’s singing. To most of us, her voice is amazing – clear, sweet, strong. Yet she hears the word that didn’t come out exactly right or the note that didn’t get held as long as she wanted. Despite still having much to learn about the voice and how to use it, she always brings a wonderful spirit into the room when she shares her talent. The rest of us wish we could sing as beautifully.

It’s interesting being imperfect. There is always something new to learn, a different technique to try, a mistake to fix, and a new skill level to reach for. I think if I wrote the perfect book every time, the process would lose something and become boring. For me, part of the joy is the learning I do along the way. I keep reminding myself, if our audiences love our “very good,” just wait until they see amazing!


Michael Knudsen said...

Great post, Stephanie, and I know my wife will love your book! So often we find false comfort by telling ourselves that we write only for ourselves, but the purpose of writing is to be read, and the more people who read it the better! We need to keep working to make our stories as "amazing" as we can.

Karen Dupaix said...

Great post. I think we all have perfectionistic tendencies and sometimes they work against us.

Thanks for blogging here!