The Firsts

As I have mentioned before I have been writing since high school and contrary to popular belief it was not a first love.  I used to hate the idea of writing journals and diaries like my mom always pushed me to do.  I tried but just couldn’t get into it.  Poems were the same way, I am more a direct kind of girl, writing with symbolism just goes right over my head sometimes.  Again, I couldn’t get into them.  Then there was, of course, homework and book reports which like any kid out there – I hated! Same with reading.  Johnny Tremain, The Crucible, A Tale of Two Cities, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn…. gag me!  One of the main reasons I didn’t work to my potential in school was because I could not stand working on things that I had no interest in.  Writing was my least favorite thing to do as a kid.

High school brought on a new venture though.  First of all thanks to people like Mrs. Wyatt, Ms. Hobson, Ms. Jakymec and Mr. Bayer (sp?) I found very quickly that things like literature, writing and history were three of my favorite subjects.  They were awesome teachers and soon writing, reading and researching weren’t so bad.  But it was my dearest friend, Dawn Taylor (then Mascia), who brought the fictional writer in my out.

We started out writing little stories about the New Kids on the Block and putting our names in as their “girlfriends”.  It was silly and juvenile, but totally fun and got that bug for imagination and fantasy out on paper.  Seeing that we definitely had a talent for book writing, Dawn and I worked together on our senior project and wrote a children’s book – hmm I wonder where that is?  It was a sweet little story dedicated to my baby sister and based on her adoption.  Dawn and I wrote it and I illustrated it, then both of us put together the hard cover book.  I’m pretty sure we got an A, but I don’t remember.

The other friend I need to thank is Christina Reynolds (then Andrews), she introduced me to the beauty and love of novels.  Alright so to be specific romance novels, but good ones that were more of a story with the romance interlaced within history.  Of course my mother didn’t like that and threw away Christina’s copy of A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, because she said it was pornography in a book.  It was a little racy, but not that bad.  It wasn’t X-rated, more like an R rated book.  (In all fairness I probably wouldn’t let a daughter of mine read it until she was older too).  I had to buy Chrissy another one and secretly I kept reading Jude Deveraux books, keeping them in a box under my bed.

Anyhow, soon my New Kid fictions became more streamlined fictions that I used to call a mix between Jude Deveraux and John Grisham.  And in my senior year of college when I was trying to choose a topic for my final history thesis, a 50 page paper that was the one and only grade for the class, I had a sit down with my professor Dr. Leopold.  I had ho-ed and hummed my way through our meeting telling him the subjects I wanted to research for the non-fictional research paper.  I was mostly dreading  this assignment since 50 pages is a lot to prattle on about, but it was Dr. Leopold who said, “Well I know you write fiction for fun, don’t you Miss LaPlant?” To this day, I don’t know how he knew that.  Maybe I had mentioned it and forgot about it.  But I nodded and said, “Yes I do.”  He went on to say if I could back up my historic research with all the bibliographical evidence, then he would allow me to do a historical fiction.

I remember my eyes growing wide and immediately got excited about my first historical fiction assignment.  It was about the Titanic and at the end of the semester I presented it to the class.  Each student read it, the professor read it and as he placed the final graded copy on my desk, he paused as I turned it over and said, “Congratulations Miss LaPlant.”  On the other side of the paper was the only A in the class.  To this day, it is one of my proudest achievements.  It was also the moment that I knew I wanted to write for a living.  I was bitten by the writers bug and the itch has never gone away.

So thank you to my mother for the writing talent in my veins, thank you to Dawn for teaching me to write out my fantasies, thank you to Christina for introducing me to the world of novels and thank you to Dr. Leopold for granting me the gift of using my talent for success!  One person I didn’t mention though was the greatest professor anyone could ever have – Dr. Herbert Janick – he taught me that history could be felt not just studied and he truly brought every subject he taught alive.


Intro to Beneath The Wall



Hello All! I know I haven’t kept up as much as I wanted to but I was 100% focused on rewriting my novel Beneath the Wall.  I *love* this book.  It means so much me for several reasons.

#1 It’s about the military.  My family has been well honored and decorated throughout the last century’s wars and I only have the utmost respect for any man or woman that has fought for our liberty or to help a less capable country to fight.

#2 It incorporates adoption, which is a very near and dear subject in my life being that my lovely younger sisters were adopted as well as my husband.  (FYI it’s not a book about adoption but the subject is there)

#3 It is about soul mates, love, destiny, following your heart and learning to do what you were born to do.  *sighs* 🙂

#4 And if anyone laughs I don’t care… my main character’s looks are based on Dean Cain, so I got to picture him anytime I read about Mack. Ahh :).

Page 18 of Beneath the Wall:

 I turned away from the crowd to see the most beautiful man I’d ever seen come in between the bully and the young private. This Marine was a tall man, a good head taller than the others around him, with broad shoulders and a strong chest that tapered down to a thin waist. Never before had I seen anyone with a perfect V-shaped body before.

His fatigue sleeves were rolled up, showcasing the sculptured muscles of his tan arms. As for his face, Michelangelo couldn’t have recreated a more perfect specimen of mankind. He had jet-black hair, which I knew would be thick if it were longer, but it was cut extremely short for the military. His eyes were the most unique part of him. They were light brown and almond-shaped, but rounded as if he were Asian, but only by half.

And my favorite part of his description. Page 21 from Beneath the Wall:

Actor Dean Cain

Actor Dean Cain

I bit my tongue, stifling the urge to giggle like a school girl in front of him. Boy, he was good-looking. This time I noticed a small freckle on the right side of his upper lip that was so darling I wanted to tap it with my fingertip—but I resisted. 

Actress Rachael Lefevre

Actress Rachael Lefevre

The heroine, of course, is me with the hair and body I always wanted and a cute name to go with it. Rachael Lefevre is the only actress I have ever found that represents the thought of what Julianne might look like, although I wasn’t picturing her when I created the character.

#5 This book is the first book I ever wrote with the intention of writing it for a non-family member reader.  Every book I wrote before this one I wrote for myself and maybe my best friend Dawn, since we wrote together most of the time.  I never thought of sharing my stories with the public until I thought of this plot.

Now aside from all the things I love about this book, one of the reason I chose the backdrop of the Vietnam War was because I always hated that time period in history.  It was so chaotic, so dirty, so trashy and full of drugs, free-love and violence.  But after giving it much consideration the real reason I disliked it was because I didn’t know much about it.  So I took the time read about the 60s, read about Vietnam, researched the time period to the fullest and found that I really did like it.  Sure there was a lot of turmoil, but every decade before the 60s, society was so restricted and narrow-minded, but there was a lot of freedom that came from all that fighting.  I still don’t like the whole drug and free-love part but really how much different is the 60s from the 20s.  The 20s were vibrant and rebellious too and heck that’s the reason I love that era so much.  The 60s finally became a friend and I am proud to say that when I see something about the era I no longer turn away from it, but embrace the peace-lovin’ era.

The last thing that is special about my book is that there are only a few names that I chose just because I liked them.  99% of the names I used are people in my life.  From my great-grandfather Felix Tetrault  to my best friends Dawn Taylor and Cynthia Bennett.  The rest are: Sgts Calise, Pirro, Leake, Janick, Symanski, Brekken, Loken, Kelley, John Rask, Dan Leary; a lawyer named James Casey, a mother named Ana, one named Marie, a sister named Susan.  I have a Mack and a Kai, an Amy, Calvin, Roberts, Albert, (Sorry Kathy, Lauren, Heather and Kerri, I don’t think I have you in there, but it’s tough to have girls names in a male dominated book.  Next one I promise.) I have a Logan, Mirrell, Jake, Josh, Richard, Evans, Frank, Andrew, Lawrence, Christopher, Kate, Tyler, Liam, Deb… I think that’s it.  Some famous names from movies and things are: Hanks, Curran (both from Forrest Gump) and Butler (Rhett Butler or Gerard Butler, whoever I was gawking over the day I named the character. I don’t remember).  And of course I had to have some names for the people I killed off and for those I used people that I can’t stand or have hated at one time in my life such as a bad boss and a dude who I dated once and he dumped me cold because I was a good girl and wouldn’t give up my values to jump in the sack with him – I beat him up quite sufficiently in the book and felt SO much better in real life. Writing is such wonderful therapy.

Anyhow, that is my introduction to Beneath the Wall…. I can’t wait for people to read it!

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