We’re very excited that Marci Nault is celebrating International Chick Lit Month with us. We loved The Lake House, her debut novel. (Reviewed here.) Marci also started a website back in 2008 called 101 Dreams Come True, where she has been pursuing her list of life dreams. Her motivation behind starting the blog was going through two unfortunate experiences. This lead her to start thinking about how fragile life is and that she needed to change significant things in her life. Read about the rest of her story over at her blog and see all the dreams she has already fulfilled for herself. Marci is also a partner of the online bridal boutique, Elegant Bridal Designs, where she gets to be surrounded by beautiful clothing, jewelry, and shoes in her office.
Marci is here today to talk about a friendship she has that parallels the friendship between Heather and Victoria in The Lake House. Thanks to Gallery Books, we have TWO copies of this novel for some lucky US readers.
When Fiction Becomes Reality
My favorite moments in The Lake House were when seventy-four-year-old, Victoria Rose, and twenty-eight-year-old, Heather Bregman, sat and talked while watching the sunset in the little lakeside community of Nagog. I fell deeply in love with the novel’s setting, and whenever I encounter problems that leave me wondering how to proceed in life, I long to sit on that same beach with Victoria as my mentor, drink a glass of wine, share some chocolate and hash out life’s problems and questions with someone who’s gone through it.
The strange thing about writing fiction is that sometimes the stories you create end up playing out in the real world. Though I know this article was supposed to be about taking my main character to lunch or dinner, I thought I’d share a story of how the relationship I longed to have with my character, Victoria, happened in real life.
Last January, I was at a book convention in Jefferson, Texas. I’d never heard of the little western town until I was invited to attend Kathy Murphy’s Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend. I flew to Dallas, drove with a fellow writer, Leslie Lehr, out to a town where a train actually rattled through blaring its horn almost hourly. The setting reminded me a little of the movie “My Cousin Vinny” and I loved it.
Surrounded by incredible authors who’d published many successful books, I was a bit overwhelmed. The scary part about being a new writer is realizing that even though you’ve accomplished this huge thing by publishing a debut novel that people actually enjoy, is that after many years of struggle to reach this point you’re really only at the starting line.
I soaked up the wisdom of authors like Jennie Shortridge, Melanie Benjamin, Jamie Ford, Marie Boswick, and so many more, and realized how little I knew about being a career novelist. I have amazing author friends and I feel like we’re all holding hands as we figure everything out, but I longed for a mentor. During the conference I snuck away to talk on the phone with a friend about how I was feeling. As I spoke a woman came into the room and sat down. After a few minutes she turned to me and said, “I’m sorry that I’ve overheard your conversation, but young lady you and I should talk.”
The woman’s name was Leila Meacham, bestselling author of Roses, Tumbleweeds, and Somerset. Leila is the epitome of class and grace. At seventy-years-old she became a New York Times Bestseller. Now at seventy-five, almost the same age as my main character, Victoria, she’s launched her third book baby. The final night of the event I turned to the other authors and said, “Leila is everything I aspire to be as a person.”
In The Lake House, Victoria has accomplished what Heather hopes to someday achieve. Through Victoria’s wisdom and friendship, Heather learns to believe she can have what she really wants in her career, but that it isn’t everything. Leila, made me realize the same.
After that weekend, our friendship continued through emails. A few months later I traveled to San Antonio to Leila’s home. We drove to a lovely restaurant surrounded by trees that she categorized as, “A real ladies’ brunch place.”
We sat and drank wine, ate food and talked about life. She told me how she met her husband and the challenges they faced when they first met and then married. I told her that everyone has told me that you simply know when the person is right to marry, and that I had never known and that’s why I’ve never married. Leila laughed and later sent me this bit of advice. “The question you should ask yourself is do you respect this man? Respect will get you over the hump when love threatens not to be enough. Respect breeds trust and trust has a lot to do with breeding love. It’s not the end-all-be all, but it’s essential for a strong woman like you.”
As I read her words, I could almost picture the two of us sitting by Nagog Lake drinking a glass of wine, myself in Heather’s place, Leila in Victoria’s and I realized that better than fiction I’d found my true mentor, but more than that a friend for life.
Thanks to Marci for sharing her special friendship with us!
Enter to win The Lake House! (Use the Rafflecopter link.)
US only. Giveaway ends May 18th at midnight EST.