Monday, March 28, 2016

What We're Writing: Hallie in the final lap

HALLIE EPHRON: I’m writing the final fifty pages of a new suspense novel currently titled You’ll Never Know, Dear. At last all the pieces are coming together and the final shoes are dropping. I know who did it (I think), and I know how, and I know why. I just have to write it. 

It’s been a long haul. In the fall of 2013, a friend told me a story about her mother, an aging Southern belle who made porcelain portrait dolls. That became the inspiration for my book’s Miss Sorrel. 

It's the story of a little girl who, along with her favorite doll -- a porcelain portrait doll that her mother made for her -- went missing forty years ago. The book opens with the doll coming back.
  
Here’s a bit from the middle of the opening chapter. Miss Sorrel is the seventy-something-year-old mother and Lis is her forty-something daughter (the sister of the little girl who disappeared). In this opening, Lis and Miss Sorrel are having lunch out on the front porch of their home in South Carolina when a car pulled up in front.

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           -- Hallie Ephron, from You'll Never Know, Dear

28 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

I'm curious about Miss Sorrel; obviously she has a reputation and a flourishing business for repairing dolls . . . . Now I'm anxious to know more about Miss Richards and the doll she's brought to Miss Sorrel; her carelessness with the doll feels annoying even though, at the same time, the scene evokes a sense of creepiness.
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story . . . .

Edith Maxwell said...

Love it, Hallie! Congratulations on nearing the end.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

this is going to be a breath-stopper Hallie, can't wait to read it!

Hallie Ephron said...

Thanks, Joan, Edith, Lucy - Now I just have to finish it.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

So fascinating. I am always amazed how one little idea, or thought, or encounter, or circumstance, leads to a whole quart of the book. Can you tell us more about how the story grew?
And hurray! You remember, of course, how we were all here when you feared you would never finish this… xxxxx

Michele Dorsey said...

I'm very excited to read this, Hallie. You have a talent for showing just how interesting older women can be. One of my all-time favorite characters is Mina from "There Was An Old Woman." I think Miss Sorrel, whose name I love, will be another. I'm writing about a very old woman in my next book and will look to her, and you, for inspiration.

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

That doll photo is going to give me nightmares.....

Hallie Ephron said...

Thanks, Michele! Somehow my books often end up with an old woman as a main character.

Susan, I took that photograph when I visited Jenny Baby's Doll Hospital (http://jennybabysdollhospital.com/) in Hopkinton MA.

Hank, it really started with my friend telling me about cleaning out her mother's house and finding boxes and boxes of doll parts under the beds. The cool thing is now that I'm writing the ending, those doll parts are a key element. And I've just figured out how to use them... (Who was it who said: Leap and the net wlll appear?)

Mary Sutton said...

Oh, that doll picture is creepy.

I can see this scene, and I can tell Miss Richards is going to rub Miss Sorrel the wrong way for the entire interview.

Great scene. I can't wait to read the whole book!

Kaye Barley said...



Hallie!

I love it!!!!!!

FChurch said...

Hallie, I love the way little bits and pieces of information get woven into stories--you're near the end and suddenly you see how to use it. From the reader's point of view, it will look like it was all meticulously planned from the beginning. One of my favorite examples of this is the locket horcrux from HP. It is casually mentioned as one of the objects the kids are removing when helping with the housecleaning at Grimmauld Place, and I wondered if JK Rowling planted it there, knowing what it would mean later--or whether she too had an 'aha' moment in book 7.

Rhys said...

Ooh, Hallie, I have chills! Great beginning!

Mary Sutton said...

FChurch, based on the information I've read about JK Rowling's story planning, I bet she put that locket there knowing exactly what it would mean later.

Grandma Cootie said...

Okay, I'm hooked. Sounds great, can't wait.

Deborah Romano said...

Hallie, you immediately pulled me into the story. And now we have to wait to read the whole thing? Hurry, Hallie, hurry!

Deb Romano

Kathy Reel said...

Oh, Hallie, this excerpt is wonderful! I can't wait to read the whole story. When the book description states that the doll comes back and Miss Rogers was treating the bag so carelessly, I feared it might be the kidnapped daughter's doll, and I was afraid Miss Rogers was going to get coffee all over it. Your characters are immediately interesting and promise to reveal so much great story. Your earlier post about visiting the doll hospital was so creepily delicious that I knew the coming book would be so, too. Now, drop everything else, Hallie, and finish those final fifty pages of You'll Never Know, Dear.

Hallie Ephron said...

It's giving me such pleasure to read these comments. I AM INSPIRED! Thanks, Everyone!

Julia said...

Fantastic excerpt,Hallie - I can't wait to read the book. I feel like I know so much about Miss Sorrel just by her reactions to her visitor. SO true to life for southern ladies of a certain age!

Karen in Ohio said...

What well-drawn and intriguing characters, Hallie. Already you've pulled us all in, and held us there with great tension.

I have the shivers now.

Deborah Crombie said...

Hallie, I LOVE this! Creepy and intriguing and the place and manners are so perfect for the Southern women. Can't wait to read this. And so glad you are over the hump!

Angela Lee said...

I can't wait to read this either. I felt like I was standing right there on the front porch with the other ladies. Awesome beginning!

Pat D said...

Ooooh Hallie! I loved it. It hit all the right notes. And I love the title.

Libby Dodd said...

Well, that was sufficiently creepy and enticing!

TFJ said...

You had me at "the doll comes back." Please write faster, Hallie. Can't wait for this one.

~Tricia

Hallie Ephron said...

Thanks Pat D - regular followers know I've struggled with the title. This may not be the final one. My editor and pub board will weigh in, as always.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Leap! yes--and here I thought you never listened to me...xooo

Lynn in Texas said...

Brava, Hallie! Can't wait to find out what happens. Thank you for the excerpt!

Denise Ann said...

Love this teaser, and although I know there are months of hard work ahead for you -- just know that there are readers waiting!!