Update on The Diner: The Oregon Series Book Two
The Diner: The Oregon Series Book two is coming along well and nearly done. Currently, I am in the second phase of editing and rewrites. I felt like the story was coming up short like there was more to tell so I have been writing additional chapters and expanding on others. The last thing I want is to send it to my editor in a place where I am unhappy with it. It turns out to have been a great decision because I am in love with some of the changes and additions I have made. (Talk about tear jerkers!)
The Diner is unlike any book I have written so far in that it takes place in two different time periods. You will see the story of John Hays, the main character in the current year, 2016/17, but then also from earlier in his life. Part of the story takes place from 1968 to around 1980. Writing about a time before I was born wasn’t difficult but wasn’t easy either especially for that area of the country. I think it would have been much harder if I had written something that took place farther back in time (which I will probably never do).
One of the harder things I had to do was make sure my references to current events and politics that I mentioned were correct. The story begins about 7 months before Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Also, I had to make sure small details were correct, things like popular music and books from the time, what people wore, technology and even little things like how much pay phones were to use then etc. At one point around 1970, John was talking about seeing a new thing at college called a calculator. It’s something we take for granted now with how advanced they are as well as our abilities with smartphones. At that time though that technology was a huge jump in progress and an amazing thing. I was really tedious about these details.
I didn’t want to have so many of these references pop up in the story that they became obnoxious but rather fit naturally in the progress of the story. If anything I wanted them to help show the progress of the story in terms of timeline since it is about his life. The story takes place mainly once again in the very real Tillamook Oregon. It is a tiny seaside and farming community along the Oregon coast on the western edge of the Pacific Coast mountain range which my readers were first shown in my novel Running Northwest. I wanted to show a transition in time and how things change over the course of Johns life. How the town, area, and the people changed as he grew older and really how they changed and grew together for better or worse. Naturally, I couldn’t talk about everything. The heart of the book is about how John met, fell in love and devoted his life to his wife even after his death. The story deals with broken hearts, growing old, Alzheimers, true love, and family and is a journey through a man life seen through the eyes of family, friends and even himself in the from of his writings.
I spent a lot of time researching the area since half the story takes place prior to any experiences I had with Tillamook while I lived in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to be as accurate as I could for the sake of the story as well as being respectful to the area’s history and quality. It wasn’t easy though since it was hard to find information from that period of time on the internet; at least locally. Tillamook was, after all, an even smaller more secluded town back then as was Oregon and a lot of places in general before the internet and cable tv. I would have loved to have spent two weeks in Oregon doing research but that wasn’t in the cards for this book or my life right now. I had to rely on what I could find online as well as a little help from the local historical society out there. That town like almost every town in America has their own unique history and I didn’t feel right about totally altering that for the sake of my novel. I tried to work actual events on that part of the coast into my story instead of creating all new ones. My characters in the Oregon Series, after all, do live in very real places. Newspaper back then still haven’t been transferred to digital yet as much as what you see in some areas of the country.
All in all, I think it’s coming together pretty well and hopefully, my editor will approve of how I went about writing this book which is my third novel. Ultimately I think my readers will really enjoy this new novel and how I tell the story. I can’t wait for you all to meet John and see why he might be one of favortie characters I have ever written.