Archive for the 'What Happened in Granite Creek' Category

How to Promote a Book You Love

Mar. 12th 2015

I visited a book club in Uxbridge, Mass., last night and we discussed all things related to What Happened in Granite Creek. They had fabulous questions and plenty of insightful comments. It’s always fun to get in the trenches with readers and hear what they have to say about the books they read.

A question I’m sometimes asked is how people can help get the word out about my book. I’m always hugely humbled that people are so willing to help. I created a little checklist below—this applies to ANY book you fall in love with, especially books by emerging authors. Please share!

13 Ways to Help a Book You Love

Posted by Robyn | in Book clubs, Marketing books, What Happened in Granite Creek | Comments Off on How to Promote a Book You Love

All Things Granite Creek

Feb. 2nd 2012

I dedicated last fall to posts around What Happened in Granite Creek. I’m creating a one-post repository here for fans. Pick and choose what you want to read. I’m noting which posts contain spoilers. And I just realized this is an appropriate post for Groundhog Day. 🙂

I love answering readers’ questions, so feel free to ask questions in the comments (just make a note if you’re giving away any spoilers) or email me directly robyn at robynbradley.com.

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What’s Next with Granite Creek?

Dec. 15th 2011

Whew! The last two months have been a whirlwind, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m thrilled that readers are connecting with What Happened in Granite Creek. Nothing makes me happier than to get emails or Facebook wall postings from enthusiastic readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. None of this would be possible without you.

So what’s next?

It’s not the end of these characters, not by a long shot. I’m working on what will likely be two separate novellas for 2012/2013. One will be Rosie’s story. And the other? Hank’s. I realize people might be surprised by the latter, especially since Hank really is a miserable bastard in WHIGC. The question is, what made him this way? I don’t believe a person is ever all bad. And it’s my hope that people will understand Hank better after learning more about him.

So stay tuned and keep on reading!

xoxo

PS — I’ll be on a bit of a blog hiatus until the new year. Wishing you all a joy-filled season! 🙂

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10 Things I Think I Think About Granite Creek

Dec. 13th 2011

In a hat tip to one of my favorite sports writers, Peter King who writes for Sports Illustrated, I wrote “10 Things I Think I Think About Wayne” a few weeks ago (the post contains spoilers).

I thought I’d do it again, but this time I’d provide a more general version of 10 things I think I think about What Happened in Granite Creek (WHIGC). I’m going to answer some of the questions I’ve had in my own head since completing the novel.

SPOILER ALERT: Back away slowly from this blog post if you haven’t already read What Happened in Granite Creek.

  1. If Koty had made it to Jamie’s house on that fateful night, would Jamie have taken her in? Yes. He’d have stood up to his mother as well.
  2. Would Koty have lied about how she got injured? She would have told Jamie the truth about Iris, but not about what Wayne had done. And she’d lie about all of it to everyone else in order to protect Iris (as well as Rosie and Daisy from the truth about what their father had done).
  3. Would Koty have left her family for good? She’d have left Wayne, but not her kids. I think she would have filed for divorce, gotten custody of the kids (and would have made a deal with Wayne that she wouldn’t tell anyone what he did to her if he didn’t fight her for custody), and made a life with Jamie. I don’t think Wayne would have survived this ultimately (he would have snapped for good by drinking himself to death or committing suicide). In a way, Koty’s death saved Wayne.
  4. Would Koty and Jamie have lasted? That’s a good question. I think yes, although it would have been hard.
  5. Would Rosie have developed a crush on Jamie if Koty had survived? I don’t think so. However, I do think Rosie would have developed an attraction to those with disabilities (see my post on devoteeism here).
  6. Will Iris ever remember what really happened? She already has, but she’s been conditioned to believe it’s a false memory. I don’t think anything — even something like hypnosis — would make her believe that memory. Unless, of course, she time travels. Hmm.
  7. Does Barbara Briggs ever confess to Jamie about what happened? Nope. She takes it to her grave.
  8. Does anyone, like Detective Panzieri, ever debunk the serial killer claim? No. Detective Panzieri believes Wayne was involved in Koty’s murder, but he has no way of proving it and no reason to pursue his theory further since the case is closed. It bothers him, of course, but he doesn’t see Wayne as a threat to society at this point.
  9. How did Hank dispose of the body? Despite all of Hank’s idiotic statements, he’s not stupid. And he’s loyal to his family, especially Wayne. He’s extremely methodical and careful in how and where he disposed the body. He knows Maine, he knows the land, he knows how to hunt (and how not to be seen), he doesn’t ever panic, and he’s aware that a serial killer is on the loose.
  10. The story isn’t over. I’ll explain more in Thursday’s post, so stay tuned.

Do you have questions you want answered? Contact me. Also, be sure to check out the readers’ guide.

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The Ice Storm Cometh

Dec. 8th 2011

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read What Happened in Granite Creek, do not proceed any further! You’ve been warned!

I want to talk about an event that happens in the book, because it’s based on a real one.

Koty disappears on the eve of an ice storm. This ice storm was a real event, one that affected New England in December of 2008.

I live in Framingham, Massachusetts, which is about 20 miles west of Boston. My town was spared the brunt of this storm: we didn’t lose power, and it wasn’t ice (it was mostly rain, I think…maybe a little snow). But to the west and north of me, oh man! It was a different story, a different world even: everything was encased in ice. Power was out in some places for over a week. Roads were impassable. Trees were down. It was a MESS, it made national headlines, and it dominated the news in this area for quite some time.

Somewhere along the way, this ice storm got stuck in my head. It seemed like a perfect time for something devious to happen: someone goes missing, but because of all the confusion that results from lost power, cut phone lines, and isolated residents, precious time and clues are lost. I knew even then that I’d somehow use the storm at some point in some story. It became clear when I sat down to work on the draft of What Happened in Granite Creek a year and a half later that I had a ready-made, realistic event from which to draw.

Obviously, I’m not the first writer to do this…so many books and films are inspired by real events or use real events as a backdrop or as an inciting incident. The Grapes of Wrath (the Dust Bowl), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Hurricane Katrina), and The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III (9/11) all come to mind.

I’m sure you can think of others: share in the comments.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read What Happened in Granite Creek, do not proceed any further! You’ve been warned!
I want to talk about an event that happens in the book, because it’s based on a real one. 

Koty disappears on the eve of an ice storm…this ice storm was a real event, one that affected New England in December of 2008. I live in Framingham, Massachusetts, which is about 20 miles west of Boston. My town was spared the brunt of this storm: we didn’t lose power, and it wasn’t ice (I’m trying to remember…it was rain, I think…maybe a little snow). But to the west and north of me, man. It was a different story, a different world even: everything was encased in ice. Power was out in some places for over a week. Roads were impassable. Tree limbs were down. It was a MESS, and it dominated the news in the area for weeks.

Somewhere along the way, this ice storm got stuck in my head. It seemed like a perfect time for something devious to happen: someone goes missing, but in all the chaos, precious time and clues are lost. I knew even then that I’d somehow use the storm at some point in a story. It became clear when I sat down to work on the draft of What Happened in Granite Creek that I had a ready-made, realistic event from which to draw.

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Soundtrack to What Happened in Granite Creek

Dec. 6th 2011

I’m part Luddite: I don’t have an iPod or an MP3 player or even a stereo. I listen to stuff online or CDs on my computer. Weird, I know, considering I spent nearly a decade in broadcast radio.

That said, music affects me like it does everyone else…it transports, and it inspires. Here are the songs that I listened to over and over during the drafting stages of the novel — or, more accurately, here are links to the YouTube videos I watched obsessively. These became the soundtrack to What Happened in Granite Creek — in my mind, at least.

Far Away Nickelback
Already Gone Kelly Clarkson
Just Breathe Pearl Jam (played over and over in March 2010 when I was deep in the draft)
Possum Kingdom Toadies
Gives You Hell The All-American Rejects
Under Pressure Queen and David Bowie
Say John Mayer (not the official video — for some reason, I liked this angsty version)
Long Long Time Linda Ronstadt
The Promise Tracy Chapman (one of my favorite songs of all time…and one of the saddest, too)
Crazy Heart Ryan Bingham (the trailer for the movie of the same name)
Hands Clean Alanis Morissette

What music do you listen to when you’re doing something you love? (Or do you listen to anything?) Share in the comments.

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10 Things I Think I Think About Wayne Fowler

Dec. 1st 2011

One of my favorite sports writers, Peter King, has a weekly column called Monday Morning QB (MMQB) on SportsIllustrated.com, and one of my favorite portions of the column is his “Ten Things I Think I Think” (which I love because it allows room to recant in case further information comes to light).

So hat tip to Mr. King (who loves Starbucks, the Sox, and Bill Belichik — how can I not love this man?); here are Ten Things I Think I Think About Wayne Fowler, one of the main characters from What Happened in Granite Creek.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read What Happened in Granite Creek, do not proceed any further! You’ve been warned!

  1. Deep down, Wayne’s a decent person. I know this was hard for some of my beta readers to swallow, and I know some readers of the novel will have a hard time accepting this. He does a horrible thing at the end of Part 1. Horrible, unacceptable, and wrong on every possible level. And yet. He loves his girls. He steps up to the proverbial plate and spends the better part of those six years after Koty disappears protecting Iris, getting sober, and becoming the father that I think Koty always knew he was capable of.
  2. He’s not a homophobe, not deep down. He was for many years on the surface and because he listened to his brother Hank.
  3. He doesn’t believe Koty died at the hands of a serial killer. His version of what happened: Iris shot Koty. Koty ran through the woods, in shock, toward Jamie’s house. She climbed to the road (Jamie’s road) only to somehow fall the 20 feet into the culvert below, where she succumbed to her injuries.
  4. He was not surprised to learn Iris was gay.
  5. He cares for Honey Wallace, but he does not love her, nor will he marry her.
  6. He loved Koty throughout their stormy marriage. There were moments he didn’t like her and didn’t like being married. But he loved her, in his own way.
  7. He carries enormous guilt about what he did to Koty on that last night to the point he contemplated suicide in moments but always stopped himself because of his girls.
  8. He hates the fact Rosie works so closely with Jamie.
  9. He’s a Taurus, born on May 15, 1975.
  10. “Ring of Fire” is his favorite Johnny Cash song.

Do you have questions, comments, or observations about Wayne? Leave ’em in the comments.

And if you decide to tweet this post, be sure to include the hash tag #WHIGC.

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Your Granite Creek Questions Answered

Nov. 29th 2011

This blog post is part of my ongoing series regarding my new novel, What Happened in Granite Creek. This post contains spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book yet, don’t proceed any further. You’ve been warned! 🙂

For the rest of you, let’s get to it:

Q: How come you don’t resolve who killed Carl, Wayne’s brother? Who did it? I need to know!

A: Carl dies as the result of a hate crime — this the reader knows. Sadly, crimes like this happen too often, and some remain unsolved. While “thread resolution” is important for *most* main threads in novels, this wasn’t a main thread (at least not in my mind), and it felt more true to life that it remain unsolved. At least in this book, the author adds wickedly. Muahahahaha. 🙂

Q: Jamie is a quad amputee, meaning he has no arms and no legs. How could he possibly drive a car, even one that’s been manufactured just for him?

A: I’ll admit that when I first wrote the scene in 2010, I was wondering if I was penning science fiction. Then I saw this video in the summer of 2011 when I was revising the book — it’s a video of Todd Nicely, a quad amputee from the war, and how he is able to successfully drive. It thrills me to see stuff like this!

Q: You killed off a main character that we spent half the book with. Did you ever think twice about it?

A: Honestly, no. In fact, it didn’t occur to me that this might be a problem until I was reading a post on Nathan Bransford’s blog regarding a debate in his forum (I think that’s where it was) about whether it was okay to kill your protagonist. Oops, I thought. But even then, I had no plans to change it. I’ll admit I waited with bated breath for reaction from my beta readers (around 12 people). While some were startled and/or sad about the character’s demise, no one thought that I “couldn’t do that.”

That said, I did start thinking about the readers and how jarring losing a character they’d spent 230 pages with could be. This influenced the cover art (I wanted the cover to convey the fact that someone probably dies), the book description, and the way I’ve talked about the book on this blog and elsewhere. I certainly don’t want it — or anything I write — to be so shocking or unbelievable that it takes the reader out of the story.

Q: Is Granite Creek based on a real place?

A: Nope, it’s entirely fiction, but it’s fiction based on my experience driving through and spending time in some small New Hampshire towns.

Q: What research did you do for this book?

A: I talked with a real CSI guy from my hometown in Framingham, Massachusetts. I spent dozens of hours reviewing videos on how to shoot guns and the parts of a gun. I talked with a woman who is married to a double-leg amputee and who has extensive knowledge on disabilities in general (and how people live their day-to-day lives with them). I quizzed many of my friends and family who lived through the Great Ice Storm of December 2008 so I could get details on what it was like (the storm happened in New England, including Massachusetts, but my town was spared).

Q: Do you think Rosie and Jamie will eventually get together? Will Iris ever “remember” her real role in her mother’s death? Will Wayne and Honey get hitched? And is there anything redeemable about Hank, Wayne’s brother?

A: All good questions. And I promise I’ll answer some in a couple of novellas I’ll be releasing next year. Stay tuned! 🙂

Do you have any other burning questions about the book? Contact me and let me know. I love hearing from readers!

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Posted by Robyn | in What Happened in Granite Creek | Comments Off on Your Granite Creek Questions Answered

The Holidays. Hello Drama!

Nov. 22nd 2011

A reader who’s read both Forgotten April and What Happened in Granite Creek noted that the holidays — Thanksgiving in both and Christmas and New Year’s in Forgotten April — play pivotal roles in my plots. She’s absolutely correct, and she got me thinking about it; I’m not sure I made the connection until she pointed it out to me.

So why do I include holidays? Why are they central to my plots?

  • For me, holidays add instant tension. And what’s a good book without some tension? Think about it: the Christmas season is one of the most stressful times of the years. And the last few Thanksgivings, I’ve heard news stories of some wacky murders taking place in family homes, usually fueled by arguments and too much drinking.
  • Holidays are relatable. In America, everyone “gets” what Thanksgiving is, so that common knowledge is something that enriches the experience for readers, at least those who are stateside (and I imagine most readers who are familiar with American history will understand what Thanksgiving is, at least on some level). Even if a reader’s Thanksgivings have all been happy and fun, he or she will probably be intrigued (even more so, perhaps) by ones that fall apart. Even holidays that a particular reader doesn’t celebrate, he or she will probably understand on some level, especially in the US (it’s hard to avoid all the Christmas stuff from Labor Day to 12/25, even if you don’t celebrate).
  • Holidays bring out the best in people. That’s what we’re led to believe, anyway. And while this might be true to a certain extent, I think it’s equally true that holidays can bring out the worst in all of us as well…or, at least, reveal those dark sides we all have (ever been around a recently scorned woman on Valentine’s Day?).
  • Holidays help anchor the story in time. This was important in What Happened in Granite Creek especially since the timeline jumps around (on purpose).

I’m trying to think of novels I’ve read where holidays play a role. Bridget Jones’s Diary comes to mind (a Christmas gathering plays a pivotal role in the beginning and in the end).

Here’s a clip from a Thanksgiving movie I really enjoyed called Home for the Holidays. I know it won’t be for everyone (the friend I saw this movie with HATED it because he thought it was so depressing; I thought it was brilliantly honest). It has a great cast, and Jodi Foster directed (it was her directorial debut, I think). NOTE: There’s some naughty language contained within. Consider yourself warned!

Your turn — what books have you read where the holidays play a role, increase tension, and reveal interesting character traits.

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving for those who’ll be celebrating this week! 🙂

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Scoundrel Know-How

Nov. 17th 2011

NOTE: This post is part of my ongoing series called “What Really Happened While I Was Writing What Happened in Granite Creek.” Occasionally, some of these posts will contain spoilers. I’d rate this one “medium” level, so advance at your own risk. (The perfect solution, of course, would be to read What Happened in Granite Creek and then come back to this post. See what I did there? 😉 )

When I wrote the short story, “Support Our Troops,” I had no idea that the full-blown novel — What Happened in Granite Creek — would evolve into a book filled with suspense/mystery. That’s the fun thing about writing: those times when the story takes over and leads your imagination down the road not taken.

This new road, however, required me to stop and research certain things, like guns and dead bodies and police procedure.

  • I also talked to David Studley with the Crime Scene Services unit of the Framingham Police Department, which is my hometown PD.
  • In my Internet travels, I also came across this: Writers’ Police Academy, where writers gather for a weekend of training in all things police related. I didn’t go, but it’s cool to know something like this exists in case I ever need it.

Have you ever read a book where you were awed by the amount of research that went into it? Share in the comments.

And if you share this post on Twitter, remember to use the hashtag #WHIGC.

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