I’m delighted to host Jan Sikes today with her new novelette: Mountain Laurel Christmas. I reviewed it Here if you want to find out what I thought of it (highly recommended).
I’ve read a number of Jan’s short stories and novelettes and was curious about her choice to focus on short fiction versus full-length novels. Having her over was a great opportunity to pick her brain.
Here’s my question for Jan:
After having read your work for a few years, I’ve noticed that a number of your Amazon publications are short stories or novelettes, such as Mountain Laurel Christmas. What motivated you to start publishing short pieces, and are there any pros and cons you’d like to share?
And now for her answer:
Thank you for hosting me today, Diana! I am honored to be here.
Great question! The first thing that motivated me to write shorts was a contest. The rules were that you had 90 days to write, edit and format the story plus make a cover. I chose to combine two very different short stories and a poem for my first submission, and it won the grand prize. That inspired me to explore writing other short stories, which I also entered in the same contest and won first place three years in a row.
For me, the biggest two pros to writing short stories are: #1They don’t require months to write and produce. #2 It’s a great way to explore writing in different genres and different POVs. I have written everything from Sci-fi and Fantasy to a Western using different points of view. And I loved all of it!
The only con is that readers are often left wanting more of the story, and I have seen that comment show up in reviews of my shorts. Will I ever turn any of my shorts into a full-length novel? Maybe. 🙂
Now a bit about Mountain Laurel Christmas from Jan
The Revered Circle
In August 2019, I had the pleasure of visiting Nashville, Tennessee. A part of that visit included a guided tour through the new Opry House, where The Grand Ole Opry now takes place.
A significant part of that tour included the opportunity to stand in the revered ‘circle.’
When they built the new Opry House in 1974, an 8-foot square of wood was cut from a portion of the original Ryman Auditorium stage. It was lovingly carved into a perfect six-foot circle that would remain intact over forty years later. It brought a historic piece of the old into the new. The ‘circle’ is the Holy Grail for country musicians. It is the place where all of the greats have stood going back as far as 95 years.
So, when my character, Cole Knight, returned to Nashville after being away, he reflects on the significance of the ‘circle.’
Here’s an excerpt:
The wooden stage creaks under my ostrich skin boots as I stride onto it. The revered circle where so many great artists have stood beckons to me. The applause and cheers are deafening.
The Grand Ole Opry has never felt so welcoming.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever visited Nashville and stood in the ‘circle?’
Mountain Laurel Christmas Blurb:
Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.
Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.
It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.
It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?