Hi, Nanci! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read. I hope you’ve been doing well since you stopped by to reveal the cover for Swing Sideways.
Hello Mr. Schu, and greetings from the wilds of Wyoming! Yes, doing well, doing great, busy, busy, busy, and so honored to be back with you again for the cover reveal of my second novel.
Shall we get started? Are you ready to reveal the cover for Georgia Rules and finish my sentences?
Got my coffee, got a fire roaring in the wood stove, phone is turned off, I’m in my favorite pajamas with my dogs at my feet, so yeah, I’m ready. Let’s do this!
The cover illustration for Georgia Rules made me weep. For real. This is the second time that happened. The cover design was created by Dawn Cooper, the same artist who illustrated the breathtaking cover for Swing Sideways, so they each have a familiar feel, which I love. But more than that, I was near shaken to the core to see all the aspects of this story she was able to capture on one page. The moment of discovery in a new life, in a place you realize you were supposed to be all along; the love and friendship and acceptance of people who are different from those you’ve always known; the transition from a large city to the beautiful countryside of Vermont, yet with magnolia blooms from Georgia still in plain view; but most of all, for me, the bringing together of so many themes the same way one sews together scraps of fabric to make a quilt. There is much more. You just have to read the book and you will fall in love with these amazing people, and the settings, and you will understand more fully how Dawn captured so much of the story here on the cover.
Magnolia Grace is incredibly grateful to have been forced out of the cushy, comfortable, yet shallow world she always knew, into a life she never expected, where she was able to find something she didn’t even know was lost. It’s a beautiful journey.
The Parker family are my heroes. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they jump right off the page, and you just never know what’s going to come out of their mouths. More than that, they are a normal family with two moms, six kids, a country store where they can eat all the ice cream they want, and a pony named Sassy Pants. They have major challenges of their own, yet they never once crumble, they never let anything penetrate the strong bond of their patched together family. They instantly open their home to Maggie, and through their big, huge hearts, they help both Maggie and Mama experience first hand that beautiful feeling of being accepted, no matter what.
Did you know Sassy Pants has a heart shape on her butt? Even with that, she is a pony (as opposed to a horse), and we all know ponies are reincarnated ax murderers, so she isn’t always very nice. In fact, she’s only nice when you are bringing her food. Hence, the name Sassy Pants.
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I wrote Georgia Rules after being in a class one night where we were discussing a piece written by Frederick Buechner. Well, truth be told, I started it during that class. You know, when the muse hits, you don’t tell it to wait. We had been discussing a Buechner essay that took place inside an old barn, and suddenly I had this vision of an emotionally lost girl standing on the threshold of a red barn. She was afraid to go in. It was so real, I had to get it down right away. I’m pretty sure my teachers were thinking what a dedicated student I was, as they watched me write furiously while they talked. I’ve since told them the truth. They were actually quite pleased. But there is also a significant part of Georgia Rules that came to me while I was having lunch with a friend on my birthday. She was telling me about a job she used to have, and how it impacted the lives of some children in a huge way, and I knew exactly what was going to happen with Magnolia Grace. I can’t tell you anymore about that. Just read the book.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about Mama, Whew! What trip! Mama — with her cherry-colored sofa and lipstick to match — is hysterical and sympathetic and so lost in her own way. She loves her daughter to the ends of the earth, but man, she has the craaaaziest ways of showing it. She’s going to make you laugh out loud, groan, roll your eyes, hold your hands over your heart, then laugh out loud again. Guaranteed.
Look for Georgia Rules on May 2, 2017.