There are five basic parts to a novel: plot, character, setting, plot, and theme. I usually get one of those parts in a moment of inspiration, then I sit back and wait for the other pieces to link up.
With the Fairlawn Funeral Home series, of which DOESN’T SHE LOOK NATURAL is the first book, it was the setting that occurred to me first. I’ve been thinking about death lately–not in a macabre sense, but I’ve lost a few friends and I’ve also read some really wonderful books about heaven (Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, is at the top of that list.) So I started thinking that a book set in a funeral home might be a wonderful way to address some of those fears while giving reassurance–after all, of all people we Christians should face death with assurance!
And so the Fairlawn series was born. I sold the proposal to Tyndale House and was delighted to begin writing. I was blogging while I was writing, so if you’ve been a reader of this space for long, I’m sure you’ll remember several of my thinking-out-loud-moments.
For instance, I know I mentioned my decision to make Jennifer a recently-divorced woman. I simply felt–and feel–that Christian fiction needs to acknowledge the reality of our world, and our world is filled with divorced and remarried people.
So Jen is recently divorced, wounded, hurt, angry, and a mother of two small children–just like thousands of other women. And she inherits a funeral home. Story started.
Tomorrow: the research.