Invariably, the first question people ask me when they hear I’ve written a novel is “What’s it titled?” I answer Shabby Chic at Heart and some folks, especially men, fall into a stunned stupor. Their faces go blank and their eyes glaze over. Some people politely say, “Excuse me?” as if they didn’t hear what I said, and others blatantly ask “What is that?”
But once in a while, someone asks me about my books, and when I say Shabby Chic at Heart, they say “—like the furniture?” or “Really? I thought you said it was a novel.”
Either way, whether you love shabby chic or not, writing a novel about it is… well, a novel idea. Haha. No seriously, when I was trying to decide what to write about, I considered what I love; the everyday things that capture my passion and make each day more fun. I wondered what I could write that was both wonderful and difficult, and something that other women might enjoy reading.
My own passion for collecting cast offs has morphed into multiple parts of my life, but when I considered writing about it, the fuse was lit! I quickly realized that I could do anything I wanted to do with old furniture, vintage building parts, fabric, and flowers in a book! I could saw items in half without tangled extension cords and paint without waiting for it to dry. I could own a huge and fabulously successful shop or travel to the ends of the earth in search of magnificent vintage items. The things I could do were endless! Instead of opening my purse, I could write about it, fulfilling my wildest decorating dreams!
As I organized my thoughts of story lines and characters, I had to line up the people in my mind with the type of Shabby Chic they would embrace. The options were endless, the number of settings incalculable. I ultimately decided to start close to home in South West PA, so I could write about the places that inspire me.
Yes, writing a novel about women who love Shabby Chic and the men who think they’re crazy, is something new and different. My novels don’t fit neatly into a romance category, like cowboys or vacation love, but most of us who love to find cast off items and make them into something different don’t fit the norm either.
If you love to wander through flea markets and imagine how you’d remodel all the lovely items you can never actually buy, join me in the wonderful world of a novel, where the furniture turns out beautifully, the settings are romantic, and the men shrug and carry things and love you all the more for it. Shabby fiction fabulousness!
Welcome! Today let’s reminisce about those wonderful roadside picks. Every true shabby chic fanatic has found themselves, on at least one fine day, standing by a road staring down at some fabulous piece of junk, and wondering how on earth they will get it home.
It has happened to me while walking the dog, getting the mail, visiting a neighbor, and of course driving my smallest car. At first it’s a head turn, followed by a simple “Oh what is that?” Then as you get close enough to see the finer point of the cast off item, your heart begins to speed up and those creative juices begin to flow.
“I could paint that blue and put it on the back porch!” “That would be perfect in the corner of the living room!”
Of course, the thrill has a hitch as you finally reach the item, and you face the complications of pulling off onto a thin slice of road while other drivers glare and try to pass.
Yes it’s a bit crooked, bent, dingy, or broken, but nothing that a few nails, hooks, or a bit of glue won’t fix. You step closer, touch it lovingly, look both ways, and lean on it a bit to see how bad it wobbles. Stepping back, you tilt your head then glare back at a driver who honks as he maneuvers around the back of your car.
The decision is made, the item is yours. You’re going to keep it and love it and fix it. It’s perfect. You bite your lip and contemplate the stretch of road. How far exactly are you from home? A block, a mile? Is it too heavy or awkward to lift? Does it matter? Of course not!
The next step in vital, can you lift this wonderful find? If you laid down the front seat of the car, turned it upside down, and put it in feet first, could the end of it just hang out the window a bit?
One time I found a wonderful wicker rocker in our neighborhood, just sitting there alone! My eighteen-year-old son was with me, and I know he hoped I wouldn’t see it because he suddenly wanted to talk about his sex life, but I wasn’t fooled. He waited in the car with one hand over his eyes, knowing it would never fit in the back seat, and hoping against hope that I would morph into a normal mother and we’d go home; but being the great son that he is, he carried the rocker the six blocks home for me. And being the wonderful mother that I am, I drove beside him, shouting encouraging words the whole way. He decided to live on campus not long after that…
I know some of you have roadside pick adventures. Please, share and pass them along!