The Story Behind Homecoming by Meg Bellamy
I have the honor of having a lovely fellow rose on the ranch today. Please welcome Meg Bellamy! Let’s sit back and let her tell us how Homecoming came to be.
When family illness forces Julie Loring to return home to North Carolina from New York, she intends to make the speediest possible escape. Her hope to avoid seeing old love Dan Williams is dashed the first night back in their small town…
Still in love with Julie, not knowing why she ran off twelve years before, Dan wants her as his wife and mother to his child. Though Julie warns she’s not changed, neither can deny the sparks that fly between them.
But Julie left with a secret — one she’s certain will destroy any chance they might have to make a life together.
This is actually the latest version of a story that has deep roots for me — several decades deep. Though I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, scratch my surface and I’m still the Jersey Girl I was when I grew up, first married and had my children. While I still lived in New Jersey I remember reading a news story about a couple somewhere in the South. After they’d broken up, they discovered she was expecting. She wanted to end the pregnancy, but he wanted her to have the baby and give him custody. At the point I read the story, the ex-lovers were facing off against each other in court.
I never did find out how that case came out, but I thought about it a lot. How would the woman have felt if she had to go through with the pregnancy and turn the child over to its father? Was there any chance that the child would bring the couple back together? So many questions and so many ways for that story to turn out.
In Homecoming Julie is very young and very determined to escape the poverty she grew up with. She’s so determined that she’s willing to turn her back on the deep love she and Dan share. She’s so determined that she tears herself away from her roots, resolved never to return. Then one day she has no choice and must return to the home she despises.
“Let’s walk.” Dan nodded toward the path to the meadow now lit by the setting sun. “Holler if you get cold.”
“Why’d you want us to come out here?” Julie asked.
“I don’t want to give the gossips in town any ammunition.”
“You might as well try to stop the sun from rising in the east.” Her laugh brief and dry, she added, “Tell me about your daughter, Trish.”
Dan stopped for a moment and pulled out his wallet. “Here’s her latest school picture.”
Julie shivered. What she saw stunned her. If she didn’t know better, she’d swear to be looking at an old photo of herself. Though the child had Dan’s coloring and his eyes, the chin, mouth, nose and the defiant expression were familiar. For a moment, Julie wondered if by some bizarre alternate universe kind of twist, this was the child she’d lost.
Dan seemed to anticipate her reaction. “She’s also built like you — and Mary Lou.”
“Does it sound self-serving to say she’s beautiful?” She handed the photo back to Dan.
“Just honest. And that’s what I’d like to have between us now and always. Honesty.”
No way could he know the secrets she’d kept. How could she tell him now?
“So,” he went on, “talk. The sixty-four dollar question. Why did you leave the way you did?”
She shook her head. “Really? That’s your question after all these years?”
Buy at The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/ovgYIR
Find Meg: http://www.MegBellamy.com and on Twitter @megbellamy
That’s all I’m going to say for now. Having the chance to write an ending to that newspaper story I once read is one of the reasons why I love being a writer.
Thanks Meg. What a great story! I love your cover, too.
How about you? Do you love to speculate and supply endings to the unfinished stories that come your way?
You heard her. Tell us how your endings come about. Inquiring minds need to know!