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Lori Roy | A Stranger Comes To Town

An interesting story is unfolding at the Roy household. I'm taking careful note of it as I'm often asked where I get my ideas for a book. Even now, as UNTIL SHE COMES HOME will soon hit shelves, I struggle to answer this question. I was fascinated by the culture of the late 1950s, I might say, and interested in the years leading up to the Detroit riots. I wondered if a woman, a good and kind woman, would keep a secret to save her marriage even if it meant endangering her neighbors and loved one. I wondered how much a friendship could withstand, how much a marriage could weather. Though these are honest answers, I fear they might seem incomplete or be disappointing. This is why, as the new story unfolds, mostly in my back yard, I am chronicling each plot point so that if one day I write a story in which a stranger comes to town, I might, for once, have a good answer when asked about my inspiration.

My seven-year-old Jack Russell, we'll call him Ben, knew trouble was brewing. Daughter, Husband and I had been to two rescue shelters to visit puppies in need of a good home. Ben had smelled other dogs on us before, but the scent of a puppy was clearly distinct. He snubbed us after our trips to the shelters, refused to sit on our laps, hid behind the couch.

It was just after dusk on a Friday night when Ben's fears were realized, and we arrived home with the eight-week-old yellow Labrador who was little more than a round stomach and four oversized paws. She leaped and bounced through our overgrown grass. Daughter ran around the yard while the puppy gave chase. Son, recently home from college, filmed it on his iPad. Husband took video, and I consoled Ben, who sat in my lap and sneered at the new addition. Of course, I know dogs can't sneer, but if he could have, he would have.

In the days that followed, Ben's life changed. He was no longer the baby. He was less inclined to snuggle with me when I sat on the couch at day's end. Usually one to race around the back yard, he no longer cared to do so because the puppy was always in pursuit. Nikki did her best to make friends with Ben. She crept when approaching him, her front end lower than her back. Son said that was a gesture of submission, but Ben was not so easily wooed. He had no love for the new addition.

And then came the afternoon when Nikki discovered the three Westhighland Terriers who live next door. Though protected by a chain link fence, Nikki whined at the sight of the three white dogs. From across the yard, Ben heard her cries and came running. Really, he meandered, but running is more dramatic than meandering. If this were a novel, Ben would have called off the terriers, barked at them, snarled at them, protected his new friend. This is the plot point during which Ben and Nikki would have bonded. They would have become inseparable, shared a water bowl, snuggled up for naps. That's not quite what happened.

Ben did linger near the fence until the three terriers were called inside on account of barking. Then he wandered back to the bushes where he hunts for lizards, taking care stay beyond Nikki's reach. However, since that evening when the three terriers threatened (looked passively at) Nikki, Ben tolerates a few more of her sniffs and doesn't growl at her as often. It's not quite a storybook ending, but should I ever write a novel about a stranger who comes to town, I'll know exactly what to say.

 

 

Comments

6 comments posted.

Re: Lori Roy | A Stranger Comes To Town

Looks like a good book!!!!
(Vicki Hancock 1:32pm May 28, 2013)

An interesting time and place you decided to set this book.
And Ben, well, he sounds like my son when I brought a little sister home.
(Carla Carlson 3:50pm May 28, 2013)

I grew up in Detroit, so I'm very anxious to read your book!! You couldn't have picked a better area, or in this case, topic to write about, because there is always something going on there!! As for the puppy, after a few days, the two of them are going to be inseparable!! My dog of 12 years passed away almost 3 years ago, and I miss her terribly!! I now have 2 kittens to take her place, and they came from the same litter - in fact, I held one of them in my hand, moments after it was born!! They bring a lot of life to our household, and I don't know what I'd do without them, even though they can be a handful at times!! I would have loved to have gotten another dog, but they're too expensive to keep nowadays. Perhaps sometime in the future, I'll be able to get another one, but for now, these kittens are just the ticket for me!! Congratulations on your book!! I'm sure it will do just fine. A lot of people are interested in books on Detroit!!
(Peggy Roberson 7:03pm May 28, 2013)

I love dogs but have cats at present and they have their own territories and relationships too!
(Clare O'Beara 8:59am May 30, 2013)

Loved the Ben story!!!
(Penny Mettert 11:27am May 30, 2013)

This sounds great. Goes on my must read list.
(Yvonne Butler 3:08pm June 2, 2013)

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