Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How I wrote my first novel. . . Ride for Rights

Hi all! I'm new to the writing industry so you probably have not heard of me. My name is Tara Chevrestt and it took me 31 years, but I recently penned my very first novel, a historical young adult book, and it will be available to the masses in ebook format in February of 2012 thanks to MuseItUp Publishing.
My dogs and I

It's called Ride for Rights and it's about two chicks in 1916 who ride their Indian motorcycles across the United States, from New York to L.A. to be exact. You're probably think, "Aw, we do that all the time nowadays. . . " And you would be right, but in 1916, motorbikes were nothing like the Harley's you see on the streets today and the roads were nonexistent! There was NO highway system back then so this was no easy feet, especially for two young ladies, alone, wearing pants. Yes, I said "pants." Women wearing pants were frowned upon back then and the heroines in my story find that out the hard way. .

Here is the book blurb so you can get a better idea of what Ride for Rights is about:

"In the summer of 1916 women do not have the right to vote, let alone be motorcycle dispatch riders. Two sisters, Angeline and Adelaide Hanson are determined to prove to the world that not only are women capable of riding motorbikes, but they can ride motorbikes across the United States. Alone.

From a dance hall in Chicago to a jail cell in Dodge City, love and trouble both follow Angeline and Adelaide on the dirt roads across the United States. The sisters shout their triumph from Pike’s Peak only to end up lost in the Salt Lake desert.

Will they make it to their goal of Los Angeles or will too many mishaps prevent them from reaching their destination and thus, hinder their desire to prove that women can do it?

Laugh, cry, and smile with Angeline and Adelaide as they take their ride full of adventures, their ride for rights."

Okay... Enough about the book itself. Let me tell how I came across the idea for the book and how I wrote the book. 

The idea was born on a vacation to South Dakota in the fall of 2010. I wanted to visit a Victorian Mansion, but the hubby wanted to go to Sturgis and since we had already visited two wineries for my sake, I caved in and reluctantly agreed to do something he wanted to do for a change. And thus, we went to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum where I was drawn to the women's section. There, I discovered a monument of sorts to two very amazing women. Augusta and Adeline Van Buren. (Please visit their website sometime: http://www.vanburensisters.com/).

The Van Buren Sisters
Augusta and Adeline are the REAL women who in 1916, rode their Indian motorbikes across the United States. Their remarkable feat, from riding on dirt roads to summiting Pike's Peak, is what gave me the idea for Ride for Rights. I stood there reading about them and their amazing accomplishments and their journey and I said, "someone needs to write a novel about these women" and I did!

Why? Cause biographies are boring. Historical novels are not. However, my book is fiction. Never forget that. It is loosely based on these women. I highly encourage you to read about the real women as well.

I took what little I could find about them and I created two fictional characters, Angeline and Adelaide, and I asked myself questions. The WHO was already answered, but WHY are they doing this? To obtain the right to vote for women and prove that women can be motorcycle dispatch riders.

 WHAT obstacles will they be facing in 1916? I came up with their "mishaps" by browsing history. I even looked up old articles in the New York Times Online to see what was going on back in 1916.

WHEN are they doing this? I tried to stay true to the real women's timeline though I took some liberties. I had the sisters summit Pike's Peak with the first ever Hill Climb rather than on their own. Just plain fun!
Pikes Peak

HOW are they doing it? They've got trust funds, of course. :)

And the most interesting question. . . WHERE do they go? They go to Detroit, Chicago, Peoria, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dodge City, Colorado Springs, Rawlings, Salt Lake City, Nevada, San Francisco, and finally, L.A. And here's the secret to how I chose most of those places: I simply placed a map of the United States on my kitchen counter, looked at it, and imagined no roads. And you know what I did? I would randomly place a finger on it between NY and LA to see where the ladies would go next. If the location was a realistic next stop such as Peoria to St. Louis, I would tell myself, "okay, they're going to St. Louis. Use your imagination now." If it was ridiculous, such as Peoria to Minneapolis (wrong direction!), I would choose again.

In conclusion, I used a map, old newspaper articles, lots of online research, and a ton of imagination to write Ride for Rights. 

I also have an  ebook of dog stories available. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ibookstore, and Sony Reader store. It's called Dog Tails: Three Humorous Short Stories for Dog Lovers. In late July/early August, I will also have an ebook memoir available from Untreed Reads. Deaf Isn't Dumb: A Memoir. But Ride was my very first work.

Good luck to all of you in your writing endeavors. My advice to you: Write about something you love, write your fantasies, and write in whatever style or manner that you feel comfortable with. What works for some may not work for all.

Ride Safely!


Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Hey Tara,
I remember seeing your name, but never had a face to go with the success! Neat concept on the story. Its interesting to see how authors come up with their story ideas. I look forward to a cool cover to go with it.

Nick Giannaras

Tara said...

Thanks, Nick! And I'm leaving a comment on my post to clarify something real quick. Deaf is a working title. I do not yet know for sure what the published title is going to be. I was hoping I would know for sure by this point and forgot to change the post!

Terry said...

Congratulations Tara! This sounds like a great story and coming from you I am sure it is. Looking forward to reading it when it is released.

Marva Dasef said...

Definitely a different period and topic from the majority of historicals. I love the concept.

Charlie said...

Great job. enjoyed learning about your story. Indian motorcyles are very unique and I love the history behind them. Sounds like a great book. Good luck with it!
C.K. Volnek

BarbaraB said...

Hello Tara,

I love to get my history through historical fiction. This is very intresting. It's always great to be introduced to strong women.

Kevin said...

What a fascinating premise! Congrats on taking a seed of an idea and turning it into a novel! Sounds like it would make a wonderful read. I wish you the best of success on you MuseItUp journey!