Love Stories and Why They Work

By Jennifer Hallmark

Who doesn’t have a favorite love story? I mean a book or movie that can be brought out on any given day to cause a happy sigh of contentment, one that can be viewed or read over and over?

Our culture loves romance and great stories and happy endings. What makes a good romance work and how can we as writers tap into this mystery? During February, we’ll look at many books that the Crew at Inspired Prompt enjoy and discuss them. Books like Jane Eyre, Lorna Doone, and Gaudy Night.

What? You’ve never heard of Gaudy Night?  Author Dorothy Sayers combines romance, mystery, and a journey of self-discovery, three great storylines to me. So, don’t miss my personal post on Valentine’s Day. It could be a new favorite for you.

Enjoy the discussion this month and please stop by and leave a comment. We want to know what books you like and also the kind of story you are currently writing. We hope to share ideas in crafting your work-in-progress that could one day become a classic love story…

Click to tweet: Our culture loves romance and great stories and happy endings. How can writers tap into the mystery of a classic love story? #WritingCommunity #amwriting

To kick off the month, share your favorite love story, book or movie, in the comments below…

 

Travel Writing: Chasing the Janes

By Jarm Del Boccio

“And of this place,” thought she, “I might have been Mistress!”

So says Lizzie when she visits Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate, with her aunt and uncle. Because her sister Lydia, through her improper behavior, has tainted the family’s reputation, Lizzie is sure — especially after refusing his offer of marriage once — that he will never ask her again.

My daughter and I, both writers and avid Brontë and Austen fans, took a memorable trip to England on what I call a “Chasing the Janes” tour. It was quite the challenge to plan from over the pond, but well worth it.

We planned on one of our days to visit both ‘Pemberleys’ from the 1995 BBC film with Colin Firth (our favorite), and the latest Kiera Knightley version. We tried the impossible and succeeded to see those two and Haddon Hall, which is where our favorite 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre was filmed. Two were only three miles apart, but our favorite Pemberley was over an hour away. I can’t tell you all the people who helped us get to our destinations, and the situations that made it possible, but, it was truly amazing to us.

First, we visited Chatsworth House, which is where Kiera’s version was filmed:

The outside was featured, as well as two locations in the house itself:

The Great Hall, and, of course, the sculpture gallery (not my usual photography, but I wanted to be discreet):

A little angel caught my eye . . .

This house’s original owners were Bess of Hartwick (Henry VIII) and her husband. It was eventually completely remodeled and became the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The present D&D love modern art, and have pieces in almost every room. It was a little irritating to see it mixed in with Tudor and Medieval art. But, there were a few fascinating pieces:

A cozy library and seating area. . .

A chair in the sculpture gallery. . .

And the DNA of the present family interpreted as a 3D wall covering!

Well, this post isn’t about art, so on we go to our favorite Pemberley, (Lyme Park is its true name) owned by Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), the handsome heart throb of many a young lady’s heart:

They call this the ‘iconic’ view of Pemberley. The one you see in all the photos. Funny thing is, in the film, Lizzie and her aunt and uncle were brought to the back door via the circular drive:

Here is the area where Lizzie and Darcy took a ‘turn’ in the garden together, which is to the right of the back door:

And just look at the beautiful scenery around Lyme Park:

Unfortunately, we arrived too late in the afternoon to take the tour of the interior, but, since nothing was filmed inside, we didn’t really mind. We were just thrilled that we made it onto the grounds so we could take pics. The Visitor’s Center was just closing as we walked up, but the young lady gave us ample information to make our visit a success!

In between the Pemberley visits, we toured Haddon Hall, the location for the filming of our favorite 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre:

I can’t even describe what it was like to see this castle. We were ooo-ing and ahh-ing the entire visit. Feeling as if we fell back into time, we fully expected to see Jane walk down these stairs:

Here is the great hall where many scenes were filmed. I was disappointed that the ‘Tudors” were doing their reenactments, but you can get an idea of the space:

Here is the little room where Adele, her charge, took her lessons:

Then we went into the garden and were completely overwhelmed with its charm:

Some views of the backside of Haddon Hall (Thornfield in the 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre):

And the beautiful surroundings:

We just couldn’t get enough of this place!

It’s always my goal, whenever I visit a new locale, to find an interesting site related to an author or piece of literature. We found a goldmine on this day.

Writing Prompt: Imagine Lizzie and Darcy strolling in the Pemberley gardens. Relate their conversation after Darcy changes clothes and Elizabeth realizes she has misunderstood Darcy’s character.


 The Heart Changer

Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village?

Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission—far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.

Link: https://amzn.to/2SCcPnx


Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm loves to travel, is passionate about visiting new places and determined never visit the same location twice. Unfortunately, sometimes she has to break her own rule. Having journeyed to six out of seven continents, she’s slowly checking off destinations on her bucket list. Jarm’s next dream destination is a stay in a Mongolian yurt with plenty of yak milk to drink!

Some interesting factoids about the author: Her first job was working in — no kidding — a Chinese laundromat! After meeting a bat head-on, Jarm had the distinct privilege of sporting black eyes for eighth grade graduation. Her secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school art education, and served four years as school librarian. She spent two years in Papua New Guinea, teaching three missionary children in an isolated bush village without modern conveniences.

Jarm is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers, Children’s Book Insiders and has published two articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

Jarm Del Boccio is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home), in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. Her debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer released with Ambassador International April 26th. You can connect with her at: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/  or her author’s Facebook or Instagram accounts.

My Passion is to Make Scripture and History Come Alive for my Readers: Illuminating the Past. Making Sense of the Present. Offering Hope for the Future

March of Modern Authors

by Betty Thomason Owens

You step through the front door of a bookstore or library, and then what? Where do you head first? What name draws you? Are you a browser, looking for something interesting, or do you make a beeline for a certain shelf?

book-112117_1280While raising my family, I made bimonthly trips to the local library. I was a classic reader. I started with the “A” shelf and read my way through. It took me a while to get past the first column with all the Alcott, Austen, Brontes, Dickens. . . well, you get the picture. I read a number of Miss Read books and du Maurier mysteries.

But to pick one author out of the many, especially when you have numerous friends who are excellent authors–not sure I wanna go there.  I might just take the easy way out and name a few neighbors. Kentucky is proud home to many wonderful writers. If I start naming them though, I’d get myself into trouble for sure. It’s like choosing a favorite child–in front of the others. Can’t be done.

Throughout the month of March, our crew (and a guest or two) will talk about the writers who have left a lasting impression on their lives. Gifted storytellers. Books that resonate with their readers.

  • What’s your favorite?
  • Can you name a few?
  • Do you read fiction, or nonfiction?

bird-2047081_1280I shall never forget the magic of those first few lines of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

“When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable looking child ever seen.”

fog-258244_1280By the time Mary found the secret garden, the little flower-lover in me was totally hooked. I was in third grade, and I think it may have been my first “chapter book”.

It held first place in my heart till I picked up Jane Eyre. That book, with it’s foggy, craggy moors and rough-edged characters still draws me. I reread it every once in a while.

So, while the March winds blow, and Old Man Winter gives way to Spring, join us for a look at our favorite authors.

Right now, I’m going to toss another log on the fire and curl up with a good book. One from a well known Kentucky writer. She’s writing cozy mysteries these days. Wonder if you can guess who that might be? 🙂

(Click to tweet) You step through the front door of a bookstore or library and then what?

Writing Prompt: This photo immediately reminded me of the movie, Ever After. Who would live in such a place? Can you begin or end a story here?castle-1975928_1280