Guest Post: How Nora Roberts and My Ancestors Inspired My Stories by Ava Miles
Who would have guessed that Nora Roberts could inspire a book? And yet she did.
But it didn’t start out that way. Let me back up.
My sister, Michelle, is a huge fan of Nora Roberts. Like our other two sisters and I, we’ve been reading Nora since we were young women. I don’t know how often we used to call each other and say, wow, that was an awesome book. Wish I lived in that story. Could date a guy like Cameron Quinn, for example, in Sea Swept.
Then Michelle got married and her hope for a fairy tale marriage like Eve and Roarke went to hell in a handbasket. Her ex then pulled a humdinger. He blamed their divorce on Michelle reading too many Nora Roberts novels. We were SHOCKED.
After that wore off, the writer in me kept thinking about this accusation, and soon NORA ROBERTS LAND, the first book in The Dare Valley series was born. No surprise that it’s called that since to me and my sisters a Nora book is like another land. And one most of us revisit time and time again.
Nora graciously gave me her blessing for using her name in the title and the premise. Lucky me, right?
So I had one major writing element down. Then I turned to our family’s roots in running a local newspaper, one my great-great grandpa won in a poker game in 1892. It’s the stuff of family legend and changed the course of my ancestors.
It’s totally cool, right?
I knew my heroine in book 1 was a journalist, and that she came from a noted journalism family who ran a newspaper out West in a small town called Dare Valley, Colorado. She returns to help out the family newspaper, and thus the town’s legend, Arthur Hale, her grandpa, arrives on the scene. Grandpa Hale is what I’ve imagined my great-great grandpa to be like, and he is the voice of wisdom for the “younger generation” of characters as he calls them in The Dare Valley series. He helps Meredith’s sister find her way when her childhood best friend returns, and they finally move from friends to…well, you know. And he helps the new deputy sheriff who’s also a single mom see more than black and white when it comes to law and order in their small town.
With so much of my own family inspiring this series, and being from a small town myself, I have to admit it’s tons of fun to see the family dynamics and the close-knit community spirit that continued to develop in Book 2, FRENCH ROAST, and Book 3, THE GRAND OPENING.
Thanks to Sue at Romance at Random for allowing me to share how The Dare Valley series started off today, and of course, thanks to Nora and my great-great grandpa for being the inspiration that kicked it all off.
About the Author:Born and raised in the Midwest, where her family’s newspaper is located, Ava went on to earn an undergraduate degree in writing and advanced degrees in political science and conflict management. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers. She is also part of an unofficial group that regularly convenes a writing retreat at Nora Roberts’ restored Inn Boonsboro in western Maryland. Having left behind the “day job,” which took her, literally, all over the world, she now writes full-time in the peace and quiet of her northern Virginia porch-swinging-friendly community.
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