While writing my first novel, the name of my MC came to me within the first 20 minutes of writing. The name was Jean Stone. After staring at it, I realized that I liked the name, no I loved it. Curious that it was the first thing that came to mind, I never wavered or felt the need to change it. There was no list making, pondering on what sounded better, and numerous sleepless nights of trying to figure out what would work for the novel. It was good and strong and Jean was the name of my granny, my mother’s middle name, and the middle name of my mother in law. All 3 wonderful woman in my life! As for the last name of Stone, I couldn’t figure out why I chose that till another conversation with my mother weeks later would have me dealt an epiphany.
Now let me tell you. There was NO ONE that knew I was writing this book. The only two people I told were my husband and daughter. This was something I was doing for me, to see if I could actually write a book. My family knew I was talented in creative arts. From Theatre, singing, band, dance, and crocheting, they had seen what I was capable of doing, but this was something I wanted to keep secret until I finished if I finished.
There was nothing riding on this other than finding myself as an individual person not just a Navy Wife. No pressure right? Every day I sat down and let the pencil fly across the paper with the spend of a bumblebee. The story line poured out of me like water from a stream, it felt like I was meant to write this story. I had to write this story, no I needed to write it. My family allowing me the time needed to figure things out. My family was falling apart, somehow I knew that this would save me, save us, but at the time I didn’t know how or why.
By May school was over and we were preparing for our family trip to Disney World. When I wasn’t driving, I was writing. During our stay over in Gulfport, I completed my first manuscript. I was elated! So much work had gone into this, my heart and soul the whole time finding myself as a writer and as a person. It was my pilgrimage, my marathon, my story. As I sat back and contemplated over the work put in, I realized the story was me. My hopes, my dreams, my life.
By this time, my husband and daughter were supporting me in my adventure. I passed along some chapters to a friend, my mother, and my husband. They were amazed at what they saw on the screen before them. A close college friend of mine took it upon herself to read the novel and fell in love, at this point I decided to put my manuscript out for possible publication.
Again, I had nothing to lose by doing it and was curious to see if I could. Even if it didn’t work out, I was proud of my accomplishment. I threw myself into reading about publishing, traditional, hybrid, indie! Nightly I poured over the research in my decision on which route to go. As fate would have it, a manuscript request came across a page I followed for Navy Chief Wives! Here was my chance to see if I had the stuff to make it. So I got everything ready and sent it off, fingers crossed in hopes that maybe this was it!
In a random conversation a few days later, my mom asked me where I got the name for the MC. I told her it came to me, that Jean was of course an ode to her mother, her, and my mother in law. She then reminded me that her married name was Raulston derived from the original version of Raulstone! How had I forgot this? I remember us having the conversation and now here before me, this name was my Granny. The woman I idolized as a child. Her house so warming, full of faith, food, and family. Never a mean word to anyone, always a smile, and warm hug of vanilla perfume. A woman strong in her faith of God, that to this day I joke if she didn’t get to heaven, no one will.
12 years ago today, we lost this wonderful woman to heart failure. She had suffered and survived tuberculosis, asthma, clots, and yet by 2007 her poor body couldn’t keep up any longer and she yearned to go home. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and with this book, I dedicate it to her. I know she would be proud of what I did. I love you Granny, miss you terribly.