Today’s guest is multi-published Virginia Smith, a fellow Kentucky author. She’s really showing versatility with her latest release, The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade, The Tales of Goose Creek B&B. It’s been compared to Jan Karon’s Mitford series, with intrigue, humor, and romance. I love the sound of that.
So, Virginia, tell us a little about your new series– The Tales of Goose Creek B&B—
It’s about the lovable, laughable residents of a small town called Goose Creek, Kentucky. In The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade, we meet Al and Millie Richardson, a near-to-retirement-age couple who are at odds over her desire to sink their retirement funds into the purchase of a falling-down Victorian house with the idea of turning it into a bed and breakfast. Al is absolutely against the idea and digs his heels in, but in a match of wills, he secretly fears Millie’s is the stronger. In the meantime, the town’s iconic water tower needs to be repainted, and the community is in an uproar over the mayor’s idea to hire an outsider for the job. And meanwhile, a new veterinarian moves to town and unknowingly insults one of the oldest—and most influential—residents.
The publisher summarizes the series like this: “Get lost in a novel that reminds you why you love reading.”
In writing the first book, what inspired the story/situations?
My publisher, Harvest House Publishers, contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying something new. They were looking for a series about a small town with quirky residents, lots of humor, and subtle wisdom. They thought my writing style was well suited to that kind of book. Was I interested? You bet I was! My first three novels were exactly that—small towns, lots of humor, quirky characters. I’ve written in a lot of styles since then: romance, suspense, mystery, historical, contemporary, even biblical fiction. But from the moment I put the first words on paper, I was in love with Goose Creek. In some ways, this style of writing is like returning to my roots.
Wonderful! Please tell us about your main character(s). What endears them to you?
This book has several main characters. In fact, you could almost say the town, Goose Creek, is a character itself. But among the residents there are a few who take center stage. There’s Al and Millie, the late-middle-aged couple who buy the old house in order to open a bed and breakfast. I have to confess that there is a lot of my husband and me in that couple. I absolutely love their relationship, quarrels and all. Then there’s Dr. Susan, the veterinarian. I love her blundering mannerisms and sincerity.
Is the location real, or based on a real location?
Goose Creek is a fictitious town, but it is based on Midway, Kentucky. Midway is a charming town not far from my home in Frankfort, and like Goose Creek, its Main Street runs one-way on each side of a railroad track. Midway is one of those towns that cropped up around the railroad back in the mid-1800’s, and while many of those communities closed up, Midway survived. Its claim to fame is that Jesse James’ mom was born there.
Can you give us a sort of “snapshot” (brief description) of any important secondary characters you love?
Since this book has an ensemble cast, there are several characters who aren’t necessarily center-stage, but give the story so much flavor and fun. One is Mayor Jerry Selbo. There’s an interesting story behind his character. My church holds an annual auction as a fundraiser, and people donate all kinds of stuff to be auctioned off. When I was working on this book, my donation was the chance to be a character in one of my books. Jerry Selbo, one of my friends, won the auction. At first I was simply going to name a character after him. I made him the mayor of Goose Creek. As I was writing, I couldn’t help but picture the real Jerry as I was writing about Mayor Jerry, so some of his mannerisms and personality came through. I loved him so much he’s become a continuing character in the series. In the next book, Renovating the Richardsons, Mayor Jerry Selbo has a significant role.
I like recurring characters. They give a series continuity and draw the reader in faster. I haven’t read the book yet, so tell me what you hope will draw readers to this series?
The humor, of course. I love to laugh, and I think there’s a lot of funny stuff in these stories. But the messages really do run deeper than that. They’re about relationships, and cooperation, and compassion, and the need to see other people’s viewpoints.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Though The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade is officially the first book, I launched the series on August 1 with the release of an e-only novella, which is a story roughly one-third of the length of a novel. It’s called Dr. Horatio vs. the Six-Toed Cat, and it takes place five years before the opening of Parade. In that eBook you’ll meet Millie and Al, and you’ll discover the origin of the town’s beloved six-toed feline pets.
I read the novella and was delighted with it. I look forward to reading the series. What’s up next for you?
At the moment I’m working on the third full novel in the Goose Creek series, The Room with the Second-Best View. I really do hope this series is well-received by readers so I can keep writing Goose Creek stories. We have to wait and see what the readers think of Parade. In the meantime, I’m working on an unrelated book. I don’t want to say too much, but I’ll tell you this: I’m taking pottery lessons as part of my research.
Oh, boy! One of the things I love about writing is research. I know from past experience, you love to actually get into the roles you write. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Local readers, Virginia Smith and Ann Gabhart will be signing books at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky on October 6th at 7 p.m., so mark your calendars and plan to attend!
Virginia Smith is the author of more than two dozen inspirational novels, an illustrated children’s book, and over 50 articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense. Visit her on the web at www.virginiasmith.org. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ginny.p.smith
Links to purchase The Most Illegal Goose Creek Parade:
Links to purchase Dr. Horatio vs. the Six-Toed Cat: