So, here’s Hazel:
A couple of months ago, standing at my window and staring at the street below, I was reminded of the opening scene of Sarah Waters’s wonderful novel The Paying Guests. Remember protagonist Frances Wray, anxiously watching her new lodgers unload their weird stuff from a removal van and carrying it into the house? Now, the same thing was happening to me, although—thank God—they weren’t lodgers but new neighbors moving in. It was unnerving enough having strangers across the hall; I couldn’t even begin to imagine the horror of falling on hard times and being forced to have them move into my own home.
But this was exciting too, right?
As it turned out, it wasn’t really. The family was perfectly nice but perfectly ordinary. As families go. A stay-at-home Mom, a slightly morose Dad in a brown suit, and two little girls, over whose tricycles I sometimes trip because they leave them out in the hall (eerily reminiscent of a particular blood-soaked scene in The Shining—don’t even get me started on what stories that might inspire).
The family keeps to themselves. There’s no borrowing cups of sugar late at night dressed in flimsy nightwear, nor do Mom and I exchange meaningful stares or does she purposefully brush against me as we pass each other on the stairs. She will nod rather than engage in conversation, and I don’t think she has an artistic bone in her body. So I guess it’s safe to say that watching them move in was where the similarities between Frances’s story and my own ended.
And yet this disappointing event was the inspiration for my short story “Vegan Delights”—the concept that with new people moving into the building or into the street, unexpected and even magical things are about to enter your world. And the great thing about writing fiction is that whatever you can imagine happening, you can bring to life in a story.
What if someone moved into my building who looked exactly like the woman of my dreams? What if she was perfect in every way, but was a little elusive, hard to pin down, making her something of a mystery?
Long story short, this is how I ended up with Kate and her dream girl across the hall, Lara. Lara looks like a “deliciously androgynous anime character,” and Kate turns into a nervous wreck any time the girl so much as looks at her, but there’s no way of knowing how the enigmatic Lara feels about Kate. There’s a definite vibe, but Lara’s devotion to her boyfriend would indicate that she’s not interested… Or is she? Also, she never, ever, flirts with Kate. Or does she?
I had tremendous fun writing this story. Not only do I love to write about “literate” people, but our anthology Finding Ms. Write was all about happy endings, and nothing pleases me more than having my characters ride off into the sunset together. Or to at least have them take the bus into town. I like hope, you see. And a chance of a future that’s halfway decent. It’s what every story deserves.
For me, the great thing about anthologies is the diversity they provide. Even if there has to be a theme to the submissions, as was the case for Finding Ms. Write, the way the contributing writers ponder their mission and then come up with completely and utterly different storylines always amazes me. This is why I personally love a book with so many different voices, because it provides such a richness of flavors.
I count myself lucky to see “Vegan Delights” in this anthology, wedged in comfortably between some great, hot, surprising, and moving stories. Stories that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading. I am quite sure you will too. Enjoy.
But wait, you can also enter our giveaway to win a free e-book! The rules are simple: We will give away five e-book copies. To enter, leave a comment on this blog or any blog on the tour. We will draw the winner on the last day of the tour.
From a novelist with the world’s biggest crush on her editor to a beta reader connecting with her cabinmate on a cruise, from a woman seeking rare books who finds love instead to a bookstore owner who’s drawn to the shy writer sitting by the shop’s window every day, this anthology is full of stories guaranteed to have a happy ending.
Step into our world of books and enjoy a glimpse into the lives of writers who are chasing deadlines…and finding love.
Includes stories by A.L. Brooks, Anastasia Vitsky, Chris Zett, Cori Kane, Elaine Burnes, Hazel Yeats, Jacelle Scott, Jae, Jove Belle, Kathy Brodland, Lea Daley, and Melissa Grace.
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on our blog tour:
THE BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
June 15 – Jove Belle
June 16 – Anastasia Vitsky
June 17 – A.L. Brooks
June 18 – Elaine Burnes
June 19 – Lea Daley
June 20 – Melissa Grace
June 21 – Hazel Yeats (here!)
June 22 – Kathy Brodland
June 23 – Cori Kane
June 24 – Chris Zett
June 25 – Jae