Imagine the story of Erin Brockovich set in the small town of Friday Night Lights’ Dillon, Texas, and you have this debut novel.
Brandes captures small town life perfectly with a rotating set of narrators to push the story along. The book starts out with Jack Pierson, apple orchard owner, as he’s mourning the separation between him and his wife, LeeAnn. Jack’s younger brother, Wade, and LeeAnn’s first love has been gone from town for 20 years and decides to return to get folks in town signing leases over to his new company so they can start earning money.
So imagine how well that goes over considering all the family issues between these two brothers. On top of it all, LeeAnn is struggling with her desire for a child and coming to grips with the fact her mother is dying of cancer.
As an environmental scientist, Brandes could have easily bogged the readers down with technical terms and textbook-like writing, but the story flows for these characters as we yearn for happy endings for them all. Their motivations and feelings are front and center.
The last quarter of the book had me racing to see how the chilling climax would play out. No matter how much time has passed, will the bond between blood relatives hold amidst small town struggles or is what they say true, that money makes the world go ’round? Be sure to pick up your copy to find out.
A special thanks to Kate Brandes, who is sharing with our readers what it’s like to write her debut novel!
When You’ve Never Written Fiction Before, How Long Does it Take to Write a Novel?
The Promise of Pierson Orchard is my first novel. This story is Erin Brockovich meets Promised Land, about a Pennsylvania family threatened by betrayal, financial desperation, old flames, fracking, and ultimately finding forgiveness.
I’ve spent my career working as an environmental scientist not as a writer, so my biggest hurdle to writing a long work of fiction was not to learn to write beautifully, but instead to learn how to tell a compelling story in the written form. In order to do that, I worked for seven years on countless drafts and shared my novel with anyone I thought would provide helpful feedback.
I kept a novel writing log over the years of drafting this first book from concept to publication.
Sometimes it takes many failures to develop something good.
2010 to 2011: Write what I think is first draft of novel, but is really just a concept.
2011 to Mid-2012: Write what I think is first draft of novel, but it’s really just me avoiding the story because I’m afraid. I set the whole thing aside and start from page one.
Mid-2012 to Early 2013: Write first draft.
Early 2013 to Fall 2014: Change premise because I finally realize what the heart of the story is about. Rewrite first draft entirely.
Fall 2014 to Spring 2016: Change main character of the story. Another major rewrite. And more rewrites. And more! Query many agents and publishers. Get rejected over and over and over.
Spring 2016 – But then….Get publisher! Get agent! More rewriting!
Spring 2017 – A published book
Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader. U.S. and Canada only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.
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