Friday, August 16, 2013

Atlanta, RWA, Margaret Mitchell, oh my! ~Tanya Hanson

Okay, I made it home from RWA in Atlanta without melting. I’d been warned about the humidity, but it wasn’t so bad. Honest. And I even managed a bit of sightseeing. I mean, any self-respecting romance writer simply must visit the Margaret Mitchell House.

Actually it was in a small, first floor apartment inside this house where Margaret decided to “try writing a book” while healing up from a foot injury that kept her from her newspaper reporter job.

Hmmm. Try writing a book? The book of all fiction books? The first book I tried writing is, well, I think it’s stuffed in the attic somewhere. Those were the days when that dinosaur called “the typewriter” didn’t save or print anything. No matter, the tale is garbage. But Margaret’s typewriter can be worshipped today in the apartment. It might be a reasonable facsimile thereof, though. Nonetheless, the miracle machine produced her One and Only Book. Sheesh.

She wrote the last chapter first. When a publisher visited, wanting to see her work, she first refused. Then gathered up the manilla envelopes stuffed throughout the place, each one holding a chapter.

Talk about a pantser. Oh, a pantser who never got rejected. Sheesh some more.

Supposedly some parts of the book are autobiographical. A suitor with the initials C.H. did die in the war. (WWI)  She married one man while in love with another, hubby’s best friend. (No matter, it all worked out.) She didn’t have kids because, well, Scarlett didn’t think much of motherhood either. Remember her little unwanted Wade and Ella? I always thought SO MUCH of Rhett for liking those kids.

Of course I was unable to resist purchasing the massive hardback copy as a souvenir. I think it added six pounds to my luggage weight, but the airport didn’t say a thing.

Oh, the day I visited was a first-rate, hot Atlanta day. Therefore, I also purchased a MM bottle of water proudly wearing the taglline “I’ll Never be Thirsty Again.”

Good times.

All right, today you must answer this gut-wrenching question in order to get in a name draw for a PDF or Kindle copy of my latest release, Midnight Bride. Who’s your LEAST favorite character in GWTW? (If I’d said favorite, y’all would pick Melanie. I decided to kick things up a notch.) And please tell me why.

Now, about Midnight Bride. This is a couple who does give a damn about each other. Forced to marry or else lose the ranch they both think they own, Jed and Carrie fight off falling in love while she searches for her late granddaddy’s will. Hoping to prove her bridegroom is an imposter. And of course deep down, she doesn’t want any such thing...  


   He stood in the doorway, hatless just like he’d been in the mercantile. And just as breathtaking.  In one hand he held a bunch of Miss Mattie Price’s iceberg roses tied with a lavender bow.
     From the other hand hung a hatbox from Gosling’s Mercantile. The lilac shawl she had admired was draped over his forearm.
     Without a word, he walked over to her and laid the shawl gently across her shoulders. She had stopped breathing. His eyes locked with hers, and while she couldn’t read the message in his gaze, she found she couldn’t turn her own away. When he held the flowers to her determinedly, she had no choice but to take them.
     “Take off that mourning bonnet,” he told her in such a way that it didn’t seem like an order. While she did so, he opened the hatbox.
     Within a half minute, the beautiful purple chapeau she had fingered lovingly not fifteen minutes ago rested on her head. He tied the bow jauntily under her chin, then all but snapped his heels together as he stood in front of her. 
     “I’m Jed Jones,” he announced. “Your bridegroom.” 
     Carrie’s lips opened but no words came out. Not knowing what to say or what else to do, she untied the bonnet’s bow.  He never stopped looking at her. From the corner of her eye, she could see the older men in half-standing postures like they hoped to escape any second. However, she knew them well, knew they wouldn’t leave her all alone.
     Suddenly she found her voice, willing it not to tremble.      
     “My bridegroom? I beg your pardon. What on earth are you saying?” She turned toward the judge. “Is this about that ‘notorious’ authentic document?
     Judge Jacobson was nodding, somewhat defeated, while the sheriff pulled at his scrawny beard.
     When neither spoke, her supposed bridegroom took up the call.
     “It’s true, Miss Zacaria Smith. If you don’t marry me by midnight tonight, the Lazy J-Z will be deeded to the Mother of Mercy Orphanage outside San Antone.”
     Then he took her hand, placing his lips against the inside of her wrist.      Amazon       The Wild Rose Press


  1. Ashley Wilkes. He was too wishy washy and should have been more firm with Scarlet.

    Heidi Glick

  2. Hi Heidi, oh, yeah, he was a weenie. I never got it, when she could have Rhett. Sigh. I thin it's mostly because she wanted something and for once in her life, couldn't have it.

    Thanks SO much for posting today! xoxox

  3. I would have to agree with Heidi, Ashley Wilkes. I just didn't see what Scarlett or Melanie saw in him.

  4. The least favorite character should be Scarlet herself. If she'd been a secondary character, for sure no one would like her. She was truly unlikable. Most selfish woman on the face of the earth, and even while seeming to do good, in the end she did it all for Tara. She said it herself--nothing mattered, except Tara. She didn't even like her own child!
    MM broke every rule of a heroine to write Scarlet, and probably is the only author who did so and got by with it.
    Still, there would be no GWTW without Scarlet.
    I love the bottle of water--"I will never be thirsty again!"
    Thanks for the first hand account of MM's living quarters.

    At least Ashley Wilkes wasn't a mean person--he was just a...geek.

  5. Hi Kirsten, I hear ya. Such a dork. But...the heart wants what the heart wants. Yeah right. Thanks for the post today!

  6. Hi Celia, Scarlett sure was a spoiled self-centered brat. And she didn't even get how good she had it, how much love, until too late. Although I do firmly believe she and Rhett got back together. I've never read the follow-up to GWTW that was approved by here state and written by someone else. It was for sale in the gift shop, too. But my imagination is good enough.

    Thanks for posting!

  7. I'm going with Ashley, too. He should have been man enough to tell Scarlet to get a life.

    Tanya I also went through her house when I was at conference in Atlanta. Did they tell you about her connection with Doc Holiday. I thought that the most interesting part of the tour. I did touch that post on the banister in the house for good luck since that is what Margaret did every day. So glad you had a great time.

  8. Oh dear. True confession time. That would be Scarlett--I never could tolerate her selfish and mean ways. Rhett was a slow learner, but he finally got the picture and left.

    I watched the movie before I read the book, and thought the book would portray her in a better light--but nope.

  9. Hi Paisley. so sorry we didn't get to connect in Atlanta. SO many people and not enough time. I thought of you the other day when we drove through Placerville.

    Yes, our guide was so full of tidbits. Wasn't the cousin he was in love with an ancestor of Margaret's, and she became a nun? Sob, too sad. My daughter told me to be careful crossing the street because that's how MM died. Dang, I was really careful taking that pic I posted LOL from the other side of the street.

    Thanks so much for posting today.

  10. I didn't go to Atlanta this year - the last time the conference was there.

    If I hadn't been in Wisconsin you could have let me know you were nearby. We were in Wisconsin for hubby's 50th class reunion.

    Yes, Doc Holiday, the nun and Margaret were first cousins. The nun's name was Melanie and she said if she used the name, it had to be given to a rightous woman. When the family broke Melanie and Doc up because they were first cousins, she became a nun and he became a drunk. His mother also died of TB. YEP, I did get a lot out of that tour. ;)

  11. Tanya, I'm so envious! LOL What a great trip you had, and how I love Gone With the Wind.

    Not crazy about Ashley either. I wonder, though, how much of that is colored by our "visual" of Leslie Howard's portrayal? He was weak, but always tried to do the right thing.

    Scarlett, in my mind, was not selfish in everything. She kept the family together, marrying Frank out from under Suellen. That was wrong from Suellen's POV, but Scarlett was right -- Suellen was the kind who would have let the family starve--Scarlett's motive was not being "being mean" to her sister, but doing whatever she had to in order to provide for the family.

    But here's one we haven't mentioned. How about India Wilkes? I love that scene where they're waiting on the men to return and she is being catty to Scarlett, and Melanie tells her, "One more word, and you go out of this house, Indian Wilkes." SOOOO many characters that were so realistic and set the standards for us in a lot of ways.

    I enjoyed your excerpt, too! Good luck with your sales! Thanks for a very interesting post. I've never been to Atlanta, but I hope to go at some point and this will be one of the highlights of my trip.

  12. Tanya, Loved your post! One of these days I'll get to Atlanta when I'm not changing planes. ;-)
    Am I the only one who liked all the characters except the overseer? They all played their parts well in book and movie. Oh, well.
    Loved your excerpt. Looking forward to reading this one!

  13. I love all the comments here. Such a great book. Yeah, MM broke the rules but it is because she twisted so many contradictory traits into her characters that we're all still talking about them today.

    I too think Ashley is the least likeable, and not just because he came across as a complete weenie. Everyone thinks he always did the right thing, but he didn't with Scarlett. There was no way in hell he didn't see the way she yearned for him, and like weak men everywhere, he kept her dangling on a string because she stroked his ego. Nothing like having both; a loving wife and a beautiful woman who adores you whom you know you will never be man enough to handle.

  14. You know, I liked Ashley. But that may have been colored by the fact I liked Leslie Howard (Loved him in The Scarlet Pimpernel. Check it out on late night movies). I least liked Scarlett in GWTW/ But I can't deny she was an unforgettable character.

  15. I never like Ashley Wilkes. He was not a strong man and Scarlett should have known that.

  16. I would have to say Scarlet. I don't think she deserved the men she got. Beauty is more than just on the outside, and I didn't really see beauty on the inside. Someone should have spanked her backside when she was a kid.

  17. Hi Jacquie, Scarlett was a mean son of a gun. I remember reading the book the first time when I was about fourteen and thinking, yikes, I'm kinda like her. It's such a great read. Thanks for the post. xo

  18. hi Cheryl, on indeed, India was a jealous snake. Melanie in some ways is almost too good to be true. I so enjoyed your insights today. Maybe this book should be studied in lit classes, instead of that great big snore: Red Badge of Courage. xo

  19. Hi Carra, dang, that airport is giant. But I'm scared of trams cuz I'm always afraid I won't get off at the right spot. Anyway, the LONG walk was good for me after so many hours in a plane. Oooh, boo, Jonas Wilkerson. CREEP. Thanks for the post and your kind words about my book.

  20. Howdy all I'll post my winner last thing tonight. Hugs...

  21. Hi Mackenzie, indeed, his ago roared.
    I like to think he was a good soldier at least, and Melanie continued to love him even as I know she saw through him. And Scarlett, too. I wonder if her love for Scarlett would have been so true if they hadn't been sisters-in-law. (OF course the movie never mentions her nephew, Scarlett's son with Charles. That would be a huge unifier.) Thanks for your insights today. Great ones!

  22. Hi Barbara, I love old movies and will have to check that one out. We just got Netflix. ?? I think he is so unlike the image I had when I read the book...and his accent? Couldn't he at least have tried to sound Southern LOL. Vivien Leigh was British, too, and she managed it. Anyway, I agree, the characters are unforgettable. Something we authors long to achieve. Sigh. Thanks for posting today. I so appreciate you.

  23. Tanya, I just love reading your historical posts. You always write about such neat little tidbits that I never knew. So glad you enjoyed Atlanta. Wish I could have made it. And, btw, my first book is tucked down deep in a closet!

  24. Caroline, maybe she thought she loved him because she believed she could push him around. Ah, we'll never know. Thanks for posting today! xoox

  25. Hi Dora, my rock! I think I have a trivial mind. I love finding out obscure stuff. Sheesh. Atlanta was a great experience, the city is SO green and historic. I got homesick, though. But I learned a ton, as I always do...a bit overwhelming as well. Anyway, hopefully we can catch up in person one of these days. I long for it. Thanks so much for visiting with us at Sweethearts today!

  26. Ashley was my least favorite. He was a great plot device in all the tension and conflict he created but a terrible choice for a life-long love. Sheesh.

  27. Hi Debbie, I hear ya . At least make him a hottie!

  28. Yo, Debbie, your name popped out of the Stetson . Yay. Email me at tanya DOT hanson AT gmail DOT com for either a Kindle or,PDF copy of Midnight bride.

    Thanks SOOOOOO much to everybody who visited with me here at Sweethearts!


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