Coming of Age Fiction
What’s up guys and gals? Welcome back to the Sidney St. James Show, the podcast all about being an author and getting noticed in the E-book, print book and audiobook marketplaces.
Today, we’re taking an in-depth look at True Love Ways, a top ten seller on Amazon.com. I will talk about my characters, some of the drama and yes, just what True Love Ways means! And, I will answer for you just “What is a June Bride?” Oh, and yes, a special thanks to my listeners in Ireland & The Netherlands for the many listeners who are tuned in!!!
You know, there’s a lot of talk about love this time of year, as the month of June approaches and so many women choose this popular month to be a “June Bride.” Another popular month is February on Valentines. Kids pack up small notes and candies to share with their classmates at school, couples go out to fancy dinners at some popular Italian restaurant, and men rush to buy roses for their special someone.
But, let’s get back to June. Why June and not May or July? Well, June has been and still is traditionally the most popular month to marry… The goddess Juno (for whom June is named) was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing, so a wedding in Juno’s month was considered most auspicious.
Love is something we all want DEEPLY, and the pursuit of it can often take us down the wrong road or leave us feeling empty inside. So, how can we know for sure what true love is?
In 1965, Peter & Gordon sang the song written by Buddy Holly called “True Love Ways.” As a youngster, I danced my first slow song with a girl in the Community Center who I decided would be my wife one day. She was from Deer Park, Texas and was visiting our small town west of Houston. Funny how life branches out in many directions… it never happened.
My story, much like the song, is unique because it’s both romantic and realistic. It recognizes the truth: that sometimes life will be difficult, and boy was it difficult. It took two novels to tell the complete story. The leading characters in the book will cry, but they’ll work through it together. It might possibly bring them closer. While this song acknowledges the outside world (sharing joys with those who really care), it is also intimate. “Just you and I know true love ways”.
I’ve often thought of this song in terms of a couple starting out – the use of “will by and by,” “throughout the days,” and “will bring us” suggests that they’re looking into the times ahead; yet, it’s applicable in far greater scope as seen in the writing of this novel, True Love Ways.
I asked myself during the writing of the outline how can a person know that a relationship will last forever? Lovers don’t expect that even a genuine relationship will consist only of passionate positive emotions. In other words, when the bells and whistles slowly fade away. The actual song lyrics themselves of True Love Ways were written in 1960 by Buddy Holly. And, while on a plane shortly after writing the song, THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED happened. It was released posthumously. Written as a wedding gift for his wife, Holly’s song predicted: “Sometimes we’ll sigh; sometimes we’ll cry … Throughout the days our true love ways will bring us joys to share with those who really care.”
In my story, Marco Naumann has fallen in love with Simone Wolfensohn in New Orleans. She was most definitely a catch of any young man. However, she lived in high society and demanded that Marco be wealthy before she would marry him.
She found a way by his marrying a dying girl, Miss Kerstin Hoffman, who would soon inherit several million dollars and a magnificent estate in the Dutchy of Oldenburg in Germany. Marco was to marry her, and when she died, take the inheritance, and come back for Simone’s hand in marriage.
Kerstin laid on her death bed as Marco walked back into her life after a fifteen-year absence. She said, “I love you, Marco like you’re the very last of my kind. You speak the same language as me. Oh, God, Marco, to be around you is like finally not being alone…as if all my life I’ve been isolated in a windowless room. Then, after all these years, you walk through the doorway, across the room, into my life, as if you were strolling over a summer meadow. How is it, Marco, that you are much, much more than sunshine? How is it you breathe life when there isn’t anyone else that can? Tell me, Marco… why is it you are my medicine? Who could love me more than you? So, Marco, from this moment forward, know this…while I breathe, I am yours in mind, body, and soul. I love you!”
Our story has many twists and turns. In the first of a two-part edition, we find that there’s another possible descendant, a cousin named Norman Hoffman, who works in a small mining community outside San Francisco. He is the son of the second-born, Florian Hoffman.
He gathers all his documents that prove his identity and begins his travel to New Orleans to present his papers to the law firm, Slaton & Slaton, down on Poydras. However, his travels come to an abrupt stop. One will have to wait and find out if the wolves devour him in the forest after a bullet passes through his chest in the sequel to True Love Ways. Remember, there are writers who do write a terrible ending to their novels. Take it from me when my wife and I watch such a movie and I look at her and say, “My God, sweetheart, why in the world would a writer kill off the man or woman. At the stroke of a pen he can have them riding off into the sunset.
Lots of questions go unanswered. Does Kerstin Hoffman live or die? Does Marco inherit the great fortune and return to Simone for her hand in marriage. Does Norman Hoffman survive and prove that he is next in line for the grand estate’s wealth in Oldenburg, Germany. Does Simone marry Marco and “sail off into the sunset with him after Kerstin dies?
Well, so much for “what if’s.” It’s time for s snippet from my novel True Love Ways but first, a word from my sponsor. We’ll be right back.
“Great,” said Dianne, looking down at Norman. “What do you say for yourself, love?”
“I’m getting well, Dianne, and much faster than anyone thought because of my seeing your pretty face,” he answered fondly.
“That’s my man!” she exclaimed, turning her head to look at Doctor Robbins. “Will it be okay for Norman to see a good friend who has come all this way to see him?”
“Are you talking about your brother Davis?”
“Of course. Norman is out of danger now. He’s welcome to come.” The doctor said, leaving the room.
“Dianne, did I hear right? Davis has come to see me? My best friend?”
“Yes. The big boy is sitting in the hallway. I just need to go and fetch him, that’s all.” No sooner did she finish her words, Davis was anxiously entering the doorway.
He walked right up to Norman’s bedside. Norman held out his hand to welcome his friend. “Norm, I’m so sorry to see you in such a plight,” Davis began.
“Nonsense! I’m so much better, thanks to your sister. I’m also thrilled to see you, Davis,” he said while pressing his friend’s hand firmly.
“You know about Mister Barbier?”
“What do you mean, Davis?” Dianne asked.
Norman answered. “He is talking about the fate of Barbier. When I regained consciousness and was picked up for dead in the woods, I knew that my poor friend was not to be found, that he was left dead for the wolves to feast upon. Both of us were struck down by unknown assailants.”
“Wait,” Dianne said. “This is the first time I’ve heard anything about this. Is Mister Barbier dead?” inquired the young woman, aghast.
“Yes, he is, Sis,” answered Davis.
“Norman, I still don’t understand. How did you know Mister Barbier was dead. You had me, the good doctor, and Mrs. Robbins keeping all information that might shock you away.”
“I guessed it, Dianne. I put two and two together and realized the same people that wounded me also must have killed him. The ruffians must have attacked us both. They must have stricken us down at the same time… Mister Barbier to his death and me to something near it,” Norman explained.
“Well, that answers how Norman knew. Now, brother, tell me how you knew about it?”
“ When the train pulled into Bluff Creek, Blue took off out of the travel car and began running through the woods. Andy and I followed him deep into the forest and came across a dead body,” Davis gruffly replied.
“Oh, my God! You found his body, Davis?”
“You found his body, Davis?” Norman interjected, staring at his friend in horror.
“Jesus Christ, Davis. Don’t you have any better sense to say that in the presence of Norman lying wounded in this hospital bed!”
“Come now, Dianne. You asked me,” complained Davis.
“Now, now, the both of you. I’m too weak to be a referee in your wrestling match,” he said while looking at both his sister and good friend. “I’m not so hurt any longer that I can’t bear the truth. It’s dreadful, Dianne. But, it’s no more dreadful and no more hurtful for me to hear it than the both of you,” said Norman, that his voice dispelled all of their fears.
“Now, Davis, continue. Tell me all the story. I need to know.”
Thus encouraged, Davis began and told of his journey through California and how Old Blue jumped from the train like he was crazy when it stopped in Bluff Creek. He continued and told how he and Andy raced after the dog until they came to a naked and mutilated dead body in the forest. It was so terrible. There was nothing left to identify the body as Medard Barbier.
“Poor, poor fella! Will he have a Christian burial, Davis? Hoffman inquired.
Davis hesitated a moment and replied, “The skeleton will. All that was left was bits and pieces of his hair. There’s bound to be a cemetery here in Bluff Creek. I will see that he gets a proper burial.”
“Oh, poor Mister Barbier. If it hadn’t been for his kindness to me and wanting to keep my company on my journey to New Orleans, he might still be alive today,” groaned Norman, who started turning restlessly in his hospital bed.
“Calm down, Norman. You shouldn’t get excited. Doctor’s orders.”
“If it hadn’t been for his kindness to me, he would still be alive. It’s my fault,” Norman said while continuing to toss about in his bed.
A nurse rushed into the hospital room and said excitedly, “Enough, you must leave,” she said to Davis.