The 5 Best…Things I Learned While Writing My Latest Novel

ATEOTS14iGuest Blog by Karen Cox, author of At the Edge of the Sea

I have a ‘column’ of sorts on my author blog entitled ‘The 5 Best…’ It’s basically the closest thing to a formalized, regular blog feature I can muster (the next most formal category being Random Book Reviews—the title says it all!)

In ‘The 5 Best…’ posts, I discuss the 5 Best of something, e.g., the 5 Best Qualities of a Romantic Hero, The 5 Best Movies You Never Saw, The 5 Best Internet Venn Diagrams. As the time for releasing my new novel, At the Edge of the Sea, drew near, I began the inevitable reflecting over the whole experience. This novel, my third, taught me a lot, so I’d thought I’d share some of that knowledge here by discussing:

5 Best graphicThe 5 Best Things I Learned From Writing At the Edge of the Sea:

  1. Writing first person point of view is a breeze—for the first two-thirds of the book. At the Edge of the Sea is written from the hero’s first person perspective. Seeing the world through Billy Ray’s eyes was a trip—fun and exciting, humorous and interesting. The first draft was flying off my fingers, and then I got to about the last third of the story, and clunk! Flat tire. Everything got tougher! I’d start a scene and realize Billy Ray shouldn’t know that yet, or maybe he shouldn’t know it at all, ever. I kept asking myself, ‘What is the deal here? This story has been a picnic up till now, what happened?’ What had happened was I’d gotten to the point in the story where I really wanted to know what was in the heroine’s mind. What did SHE think about the obstacles the lovers had to overcome? How did SHE see the hero in light of his actions? And what was her REAL story anyway? Guess What – if it wasn’t something Lizzy wanted to share with Billy Ray, I couldn’t write it—no matter how much I wanted to. If it was that important to the story, I had to find a way around that little impasse I’d created for myself. Which was a real bummer. On the other hand, however…
  2. Stories have some extra meaning when readers can easily put themselves in the heroine’s place. The opposite side of that double-edged sword, writing in male first person point of view, is that in some ways it’s easier for a reader to identify with Lizzy, my heroine. There’s enough left unsaid that we can foist a little piece of ourselves into the role of Lizzy, and really imagine how we might feel, talk or act in her shoes.
  3. Shakespeare did not write ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’ It’s often misattributed to him (I did that myself) but on a fact-finding check, I discovered that it comes from The Mourning Bride, a play by William Cosgrove, written in 1697. The actual quote is: “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” Who knew? (probably a lot of English majors knew, but I was a psychology major.)
  4. Seemingly disparate characters can really sizzle romantically. Okay, so maybe I knew this before. I’d certainly read enough stories where opposites attract with deliciously combustible results. Billy Ray’s stern, old-fashioned surface is so far removed from Lizzy’s sprightly, earth-goddess allure. But Lizzy also has a certain pragmatism born of suffering, and Billy Ray has a deeply hidden sensuality. They each embody both sides of the same coin. And what I learned from that revelation led me to an enjoyable challenge: exploring the veiled but authentic portions of their souls.
  5. And last but not least, I learned that Car and Driver magazine was known as Sports Cars Illustrated from 1955 until 1961. (I bet even the English majors didn’t know that one!)


IMG_2714Karen M Cox writes novels accented with romance and history. Her first two published novels, 1932 and Find Wonder in All Things, each one Independent Publisher Book Awards for Romance, in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Find Wonder in All Things was a Next Generation Indie Book Finalist in Romance for 2013. Her latest offering, At the Edge of the Sea, was released on October 1, 2013 from Meryton Press – and is available in print and Kindle formats.

Karen was born in Everett, Washington, the daughter of United States Air Force officer, and before the age of twelve, she had lived all over the country—including stays in North Dakota, Tennessee, and New York State. Her family then returned to their home state of Kentucky, and she still lives there in a quiet little town with her husband, son and daughter. She works as a pediatric speech-language pathologist, and spends her spare time reading, writing, and being a wife and mom.


At the Edge of the Sea

Some of the most important things happen when you stop along the way…”

It’s 1959 — and although the country is poised at the edge of a tidal wave of social change, Billy Ray Davenport’s life is still traditional and predictable. The son of a widowed itinerant minister, he will spend the summer months in Orchard Hill, working with the local physician before starting medical school in the fall. Billy Ray has visited the small Southern town before, but this time he will stick around long enough to run headlong into Lizzy Quinlan, Orchard Hill’s bad girl.

As Billy Ray gets to know her better, he sees something unexpected behind her sultry veneer—something that calls to him. Lizzy possesses an indomitable inner strength, spouts quirky bursts of wisdom, and exudes a simple sensuality that intrigues him.  Pitfalls await this unlikely pair—problems that go deeper than his strict father’s concerns and small town gossip. Lizzy’s past cannot help but shape her future, and ready or not, this beautiful and complex mystery girl is about to change Billy Ray’s life—and his heart—forever.

At the Edge of the Sea is a coming of age story set in a simpler time, a realistic tale told by an idealistic young man, a new love story from award-winning author, Karen M Cox.

Buy: At the Edge of the Sea

Author: Guest Blogger

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