GUEST BLOG- LB DUNBAR
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What inspired the story of Sound Advice?
Stranger than fiction, as the cliché goes, is how this tale started for me as the author. Everyone has a story. This one is based on a man I never met. It was looking upon a tall, longish haired man as he picked up his sun bleached little girl at a small town festival that I was inspired for this fictional story. It was the way he stood, looking, but not really watching, his daughter on the kiddie ride. The way he clenched his jaw in concentration, then picked her up by her arms with strength and slung her on his hip. She wrapped her arms around his neck and you knew there was love between the flower-print-dressed girl and the brooding young man. It was actually my husband who called him an interesting character and it sparked my imagination for a romance.
This story was hurriedly typed on my computer (in 2009) then put on hold. The following year when I returned to the small town, there he was in the crowd with a year older daughter. Out of hundreds, it was astonishing to recognize him again. We still never met and the story I invented of him remained on my flash drive. Another year, another chance sighting on the midway of rides again in Elk Rapids, this time waiting for his daughter as she climbed the rock wall. I felt like a stalker and could not believe I had seen him again out of all the nights the town held activities and the thousands of people who come to this small town to celebrate the harbor. But it was three years after I first saw this man, as I was standing outside the local ice cream shop, and he rode up on his bike with friends, stopping two feet away from me, when I felt the need to take my chances and send out this story. We have still never met. And I’m sure this is not his story.
Sound Advice is, however, the story of a single father and his bleach-blonde haired daughter. What would it be like if a single father spent his time repairing radios, bringing sound back to the world, if his daughter, on the other hand, didn’t speak. What would silence be like once you knew your child could, but wouldn’t speak? Emily Post became the perfect character to find out. A young single woman from Chicago who has her opinions about small towns, quickly becomes immersed in the community, but her special connection is with little Katie Carter. Forging a relationship through fairy tales and word play, Emily and Katie’s bond opens up the heart of Jess Carter. He begins to question his first impression of Emily, and all he thought he knew about love.
About the Author
L.B. Dunbar loves to read to the point it might be classified as an addiction. The past few years especially she has relished the many fabulous YA authors, the new genre of New Adult, traditional romances, and historical romances. A romantic at heart, she’s been accused of having an overactive imagination, as if that was a bad thing. When not reading, she’s usually driving one of her four growing children somewhere. She grew up in Michigan, but has lived in Chicago for longer, calling it home with her husband and children.
I’d like to say I was always a writer. I’d also like to say that I wrote every day of my life since a child. That I took the teaching advice I give my former students because writing every day improves your writing. I’d like to say I have my ten-thousand hours that makes me a proficient writer. But I can’t say any of those things. I did dream of writing the “Great American Novel” until one day a friend said: Why does it have to be great? Why can’t it just be good and tell a story?
As a teenager, I wrote your typical love-angst poetry that did occasionally win me an award and honor me with addressing my senior high school class at our Baccalaureate Mass. I didn’t keep a journal because I was too afraid my mom would find it in the mattress where I kept my copy of Judy Blume’s Forever that I wasn’t allowed to read as a twelve year old.
I can say that books have been my life. I’m a reader. I loved to read the day I discovered “The Three Bears” as a first grader, and ever since then, the written word has been my friend. Books were an escape for me. An adventure to the unknown. A love affair I’d never know. I could be lost for hours in a book.
So why writing now? I had a story to tell. It haunted me from the moment I decided if I just wrote it down it would go away. But it didn’t. Three years after writing the first draft, a sign (yes, I believe in them) told me to fix up that draft and work the process to have it published. That’s what I did. But one story let to another, and another, and another. Then a new idea came into my head and a new storyline was created.
I was accused (that’s the correct word) of having an overactive imagination as a child, as if that was a bad thing. I’ve also been accused of having the personality of a Jack Russell terrier, full of energy, unable to relax, and always one step ahead. What can I say other than I have stories to tell and I think you’ll like them. If you don’t, that’s okay. We all have our book boyfriends. We all have our favorites. Whatever you do, though, take time for yourself and read a book.
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