Tuesday, October 22, 2019

#92 Inside the Emotion of Fiction: "It All Started at the Masquerade" by Janice Cole Hopkins

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****Janice Cole Hopkins’s It All Started At the Masquerade is #92 in a never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 
Has It All Started At the Masquarade been published?  If yes, what publisher and what publication date?  Flawed People Press.  December 2017

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? 
Began writing March 2017; finished rough draft May 2017; did my last edit before sending it to the editor July 2017; editor finished September 2017

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail. And can you please include a photo?
I did most of my writing for this novel in my small home office in Eastern North Carolina, but I have since moved. The office had a workstation with desk and shelves, a file cabinet, a low cabinet, and a small worktable in it. It was compact but allowed me to work in private.

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I normally wake up early and can’t get back to sleep, so I get up and write. I like to have it quiet, so I can get lost in the story with no interruptions. I drink lots of coffee (decaf after the first two cups) while I write. I write on and off all day long. It is not unusual for me to spend 8 -12 hours writing. I treat it as a career and not a hobby. I do most of my writing on my desktop computer and use my laptop if I’m traveling.

What is the summary of this specific fiction work?
When Melanie Carter’s older brother decides she’s to marry Lott Jenkins, a wealthy man who has the reputation of being harsh and unbearable, she knows her life has just started on a downward spiral. However, she’s determined to trust that God wouldn’t want her with such a man and try to make the best of the awful situation. At a masquerade ball in Edenton, she meets a rather mysterious man dressed as a knight, and she can’t forget him.
Lucas Hall can’t forget Melanie either, but he might as well. Once she sees the hideously scarred side of his face, she’d be repulsed like everyone else. That’s why he wears a mask whenever he goes out, which isn’t often. He wouldn’t have gone to the masquerade ball if his housekeeper hadn’t tricked him into it. Now he’s haunted by a scene he saw between Lott Jenkins and Melanie. No woman should ever be treated with such disregard, but what can he do? If he tried to help, they’d take one look at him, and he’d be no help at all.

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt?
Lott Jenkins has been courting Melanie at her brother’s insistence. Each time she sees him, she’s grown warier because he gets more demanding and controlling. Even for 1795, he’s unusually harsh.

Please include the excerpt and include page numbers as reference. The excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.

Lott’s body had stiffened and his face hardened by the time they drew close enough to talk. Melanie put out her hand to tell Jericho to stop the wagon, but she didn’t take her eyes off Lott.
His eyes swept the wagon and landed back on her. “What are you doing out here dressed like a vagabond?”
“We went fishing this morning.” Surely he could see the poles and tackle in the back.
“Ladies of quality do not go fishing.” He emphasized each word.
“I used to go often as a child, and William approved of my excursion this morning.” She looked down at her hands, hoping to give the impression of being humbled and thus placating his disapproval to some degree.
“Well, I do not. It’s unseemly. I hope you didn’t bait your own hook.” He looked at Jericho and back at her hands.
She met his gaze, sat up straighter, and stuck out her chin. “I did, and I took the fish off as well.”
“Are you nothing but a common wench?” His fists clenched. “Perhaps I should have forgone courting you and taken you for a tumble in the hay.”
Too shocked to speak, Melanie felt violated by his words. How dare he speak to her in such a vulgar way! “And you are no gentleman.”
She felt sure he would have hit her if Jericho had not been present. The slave’s robustness couldn’t be hidden as it pushed at his clothing.
“Mr. William won’t take kindly to you disparaging Miss Melanie that way.” Gemona shouldn’t sound so educated in front of Lott. Thankfully, he ignored the slave.
Lott looked at Melanie with contempt. “We’ll just see about what he thinks.” Lott motioned for them to continue on, and he turned to follow.

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? I hate the actions of cruel, bullying people, and Lott makes me cringe. The world would be so much better if we would treat each other with kindness.

There are other excerpts that I like better because they are emotional in a good way, but they contain spoilers for anyone going to read the book. As many of my main characters do, Lucas and Melanie stole my heart. And Glenna, Lucas’s housekeeper, is a delight, telling it like it is with wisdom and wit.

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. No, it pretty much stayed the way I first wrote it. I can see the scenes playing out in my mind as I write, and I rarely have to change much.

Other works you have published?

The Appalachian Roots series

Cleared for Planting – book one
Sown in Dark Soil – book two
Uprooted by War – book three
Transplanted to Red Clay – book four

(Slight connection but not a series or sequel)

When Winter Is Past
With Summer’s Songs

The Farmers trilogy

Promise – book one
Peace – book two
Pardon – book three


Mountain Mishap
Deceitful Matters
On the Road to Jericho (Christian non-fiction)
Through the Wilderness (set on the Oregon Trail)
Roslyn’s Rescue (Medieval setting on Kindle only)

Anything you would like to add? I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and, like many writers, my characters become real to me. I live with them as I share their stories. I’ve even been known to shed more than a few tears when their hearts break. I experience their joys and cheer them on, too. We encourage each other as I write, and I’ve had some secondary characters insist that I tell their stories, so another book is born.
At any given time, I have five or more books rolling around my mind. Some of them fade in time, and I don’t bother to write them. The ones that stay, no matter how long it takes me to get to them, are the ones I write. Writing is a critical part of who I am, and I love it.
Janice Cole Hopkins grew up in Wilkes County, North Carolina, with an Appalachian heritage. She received her Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s in teaching reading from Appalachian State University and is also certified to teach English. She wrote for magazines for years, but her new career is writing inspirational books. She has a wide area of interests, including things like travel, history, folk culture, arts and crafts, photography, and drama. She says she can use them all in her writing. All her profits for her books go to a scholarship for missionary children.


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