Monday, December 22, 2008

Did I mention I love Dolly Parton?

What with all my posts about sneaky Christmas kitties and murderous t-shirts, you're probably wondering--what ever happened to her novel?

Or maybe you're not wondering that. But in case you are, my novel is currently under review by my early beta readers.

Now I've got the germ of an idea for a new novel. It would be YA, but different from the one I just wrote. It's historical, and not a genre mystery.

The difference in the process this time is that I dreamed up the character before I had the novel idea, which was not the case with my first book. You always hear that character should come before plot; this time it actually happened.

Her name is Ruby and she wants to be the next Kitty Wells (above) or Patsy Cline. She lives in the poor white trash section of a small southern town in the 1950s (60s?). Her mom isn't the brightest bulb and her dad is a schemer who sees Ruby as the family's meal ticket.

That's not much of a hook and it's short on plot--mostly because the plot's still percolating in my brain. I was even worried for a while about whether this germ of an idea would be enough to keep my interest in writing the whole book. After all, it doesn't have a central mystery, there aren't any dead bodies and nobody's solving any crimes (yet...).

But I do love historical novels and I adore good country music (note I said good, not the total crap you usually hear on most popular country stations--Tim McGraw, I'm looking at you). I love Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. Last week I did some "preliminary research" and read their stories on Wikipedia (Dolly and Patsy).

Patsy Cline

They're fascinating. Patsy is probably more the era I'm going for; Dolly's career didn't really get going until the late 1960s. But I love reading about Dolly anyway because she's a brilliant songwriter and fabulous performer and genius businesswoman and generous philanthropist. Don't get me going about her, becuase we'd be here for days.

Seriously, how beautiful is she?? In above photo she's with Porter Wagoner, who gave her one of her first big breaks by inviting her on his country music TV show in the early 70s. I actually saw him perform at the Grand Ole Opry last year in a fuschia bedazzled pantsuit, similar to this one:

Sweeeeet. Unfortunately he died in October of last year at age 80, about 3 months after I saw him perform. His was not my style of music, but he was crazy popular back in the day. Plus he recognized Dolly for the fabulous talent she is, so obviously he was a smart guy.'re probably tired of my fangirly ruminations on the greatness of Dolly Parton.

I'm still not sure about this new novel idea. Old-fashioned country music has limited appeal (especially with the YA set). But Walk the Line was great, right? And Nashville was an exciting place back in the 1960s. So we'll see. I'd appreciate any comments or opinions!


Ok, I couldn't resist. Here's a clip from Porter Wagoner's show where Dolly performs one of her first hits, "Dumb Blonde." The line about peroxide cracks me up.

Ok, and here's different one, of her early hit, "Just Because I'm a Woman." Ignore the big hair and static pose. The words are just brilliant.


Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Dolly is certainly one of the great songwriters and performers in music history. The songs she did with Kenny Rodgers are timeless.

Crimogenic said...

Another southern writer, sweet! Just thought I would introduce myself. I'm originally from Alabama, now living in Chicago. It's cool to see (or at least read other Alabamian writers :) Best of luck in the new year.

I'm going to add to you my blog roll if that's okay with you.

Tracy Marchini said...

Anne E. Newmark did a great mg non-fiction book about Johnny Cash... might be good to read while you're percolating! :)

Hannah said...

You know what I think, I think if you love what you write that other people will love to read it. So enjoy yourself and write the book, especially if your character is speaking to you. And if you can make an era in time interesting for young adults I think that it will do well. Good luck. It's fun coming up with plots. I always seem to have my characters first and they tell me their story. Sometimes it takes a while though. :)

Marty said...

I did not see the "Kitty Wells" picture - isn't that Dolly up at top?

"Coal Miner's Daughter" is another GREAT music story. Good Luck with your current and future projects.

Crimogenic said...

AC, Selma.

What about you, my fellow Southern writer? Of course, you could sort of think of me as a displaced southern writer :)

AC said...

Marty--you are totally right. I had a pic of Kitty up there before I put another pic of Dolly. So now there's a Kitty pic in the post. Sorry about that!

And I'm putting Coal Miner's Daughter on my Netflix today!

BBJD said...

You know what I think, I think if you love what you write that other people will love to read it.

I think Hannah is right on the mark. Give it a go. Good luck.


Kasie West said...

Okay, that "Hannah" comment above was really from me. Sometimes my daughter signs on my computer and I don't realize it until I've left her signature all over blogosphere. :)