Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Than I Needed to Know

by Julie Coulter Bellon

My husband and I were sitting at a dinner table with another couple and we had the fresh garden salad in front of us, with cucumbers in it. Well, one of the dinner guests started talking about how the cucumbers reminded her of when she was first pregnant. Apparently, she had some cucumbers from her garden marinating in vinegar and water. When she ate one, she felt nauseated, and suddenly threw up so hard that cucumber chunks went through her nose and she smelled vinegar for a week. The rest of us were looking down at our now unappetizing salad, and my thought was, "that was waaay too much information."

That's sort of how it is when you're trying to explain what your book is about or even when you're writing the back text for your book. You don't want people to lose interest in your book or look at it in an unappetizing way because you've spilled way too much information. You want to balance that fine line and entice the reader to read your book and then love it so much they'll recommend it to others. No one will recommend a garden salad with cucumbers to someone else when they have the visual picture of cucumber chunks coming out of a woman's nose---unless you're a young boy and find that sort of thing awesome. I still think of the cucumber story every time I see cucumbers in a salad. I wish the woman at the dinner table could have just said that cucumbers reminded her of her morning sickness instead of describing chunks coming out of her nose. It was very memorable, just not in a good way---and you definitely want your book to be memorable in a good way.

A lot of people have been asking me what my new book is about and I've been playing around with different answers and possible back text. (Side note: Some publishing houses ask the author to write the back text and other publishers write it themselves with input from the author.) My newest book is an international romantic suspense novel, set in Iraq and Utah. Now comes the hard part, explaining the basic premise without giving away too much. So this is what I've come up with so far.

Dr. Brandon Shepherd and his colleague, Dr. Rachel Fielding, are Army doctors, who serve in a small outpost along the Syrian border near al-Qaim, Iraq. While trying to rescue a wounded soldier trapped in a firefight, they are kidnapped by terrorists who ask them to do something that no patriotic American would ever want to do. Meanwhile, back in the United States, Brandon's sister Kristen, a professional political campaign manager, has called off her wedding and agreed to head up the campaign for the next Utah governor. However, when Kristen sees her captive brother on television, she uses every political connection she has to win his freedom. Amid danger and intrigue, faith and prayer, this book is an exciting international romance that brings close to home the world we live in today.

So I've tried to bring forward the important details, introduce the main characters and plot, while at the same time making you want to read the rest of the book. It still needs some work, and could possibly use a little more information, but at least there's no cucumber chunks in sight.


6 Comments:

At 8/17/2006 4:56 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Julie, sounds great. Now if you could just add a bicycle riding, egghead living under the streets of Paris.

The only thing I would add to the blurb is where the romance comes in. Is it Kristin or the doctors or both?

 
At 8/17/2006 6:09 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

I'll never be able to look at cucumbers the same way again. That story made me laugh out loud.

Your novel sounds awesome!

 
At 8/18/2006 11:42 AM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Jeff, it's both. Maybe I could put in, Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Fielding put their lives on the line as well as their hearts. Too cheesy?

And for Kristen, maybe I could put When Kristen finds out her candidate's opponent has Ryan Jameson--the man who spurned her affections years ago--for his Chief of Staff, her determination to win may bring her more than she bargained for.

I had a lot of fun researching this book. I worked closely with one of Kerry Blair's heroic sons who has already served one tour in Iraq and is getting ready to return. He graciously answered all of my questions and really made Iraq come alive for me and my characters. It humbled me immensely to realize the magnitude of sacrifice these soldiers face every day. I wanted the book to bring that home as well as a little romance, adventure, and hope. I really think this is one of my best books, and obviously I hope those who read it do, too!

 
At 8/18/2006 2:50 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Not too cheesy at all. It sounds great. I actually am excited about reading it, and I don't read much romance.

 
At 8/18/2006 11:54 PM, Blogger KB said...

It's a good thing I don't like cucumbers!!

Actually, I guess I'm just a ten year old boy at heart. I thought your description was really cool.

As to your book blurb, it's very clear and straight forward. I agree it needs the romance hint. And I might ratchet up the intensity a bit, but the basic idea is really interesting.

 
At 8/19/2006 3:37 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I guess you don't want to hear about the time when I . . .

 

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