I may have shared some of these thoughts before, but people keep asking me about my inspiration for the Sugar Sands novels. Each time I think about how to answer, I believe I go a bit deeper.
Joy After Noon
Carl Jung says: “The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different.” Jung goes on to describe life's afternoon as the time when we begin to shift away from the ego being the dominant force in our life and move toward a journey that has real meaning.
I also like the following quote: In the afternoon of your life, you don’t do life. You do what resonates with the callings of your soul. When does the afternoon of life begin? I don’t believe the afternoon of life begins at a particular age, or even stage of life. In JOY AFTER NOON, Ray has been pursuing career success and material acquisitions, and experiences a significant change of direction. Some fairly disastrous events in his workplace precipitate the change—events that threaten not only his financial stability but the core of who he is.
Initially, the idea for Sugar Sands Book 1 and the title of the novel, Joy After Noon, was that Joy’s life has been lonely (and joy has been elusive) since her parents died when she was sixteen, and she has about given up on finding love when she meets Ray. She comes into his ready-made family and, for a time, this seems like a mistake. However, in the afternoon of her life, she finds love and joy.
Song of Sugar Sands
Sugar Sands Book 2 is Song of Sugar Sands (published in 2019). Although I’ve always been someone who seeks a higher power (and feels such a presence in my life), I’m also a person who struggles with doubts: doubts about churches, denominations, religion, and myself. So I decided to put a character with these kinds of doubts (Acadia) in a relationship with a man of such a deep faith he feels compelled to share his faith with everyone he encounters (Peter).
SONG OF SUGAR SANDS is a novel about—in the words of William Faulkner—the human heart in conflict with itself. Who hasn’t, at least occasionally, struggled with doubts about her faith in God or about God’s personal interest in her life? Also, relationships are difficult at their best, but particularly so when the individuals have differing views on faith. Still, there is hope. Song of Sugar Sands tells the journey of Acadia’s relationship with Peter and of her path toward deeper faith.
April 20, 2020
My first published book (other than textbooks) was “Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson”: Tales of a Young Actor. It’s a hard book to categorize because it’s largely memoir, but based more on my dad’s memories than on my own. He shared them with me by means of a series of cassette tapes he recorded while watching his grandson working on the television series, “Christy,” based on the award-winning novel by Catherine Marshall. Although the book didn’t sell many copies apart from those I sold in my hometown and my dad’s, it is still one of my favorites. I just realized it’s available for sale as a “Nook” e-book through Barnes & Noble. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Debra%20Coleman%20Jeter%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall.
My most recent published book is Song of Sugar Sands (published in 2019). Although I’ve always been someone who seeks a higher power (and feels such a presence in my life), I’m also a person who struggles with doubts: doubts about churches, denominations, religion, and myself. So I decided to put a character with these kinds of doubts in a relationship with a man of such a deep faith he feels compelled to share his faith with everyone he encounters.
Song of Sugar Sands is a novel about—in the words of William Faulkner—the human heart in conflict with itself. Who hasn’t, at least occasionally, struggled with doubts about her faith in God or about God’s personal interest in her life?
My next book (Sugar Sands Book 3) is forthcoming in 2020. The working title is Mainstream. Mainstream is a family suspense drama about three young couples (Barbara and Roy; Randa and Jonathan; Joella and Luke) whose five-year-old daughters disappear one August afternoon from a birthday party. Each of the couples wrestles with its own set of issues leading up to the disappearance. Told from the point of view of the three wives and one of the daughters, Mainstream finds each couple at a pivotal point in relationships and career choices when the disappearance occurs.
In Mainstream, Barbara has recently found out that her husband, Roy, has embarked upon an extramarital relationship while she’s been grieving a difficult miscarriage. Randa’s husband, Jonathan, has relocated his family to work for Roy, and is disillusioned by Roy’s work tactics and by his apparent affair. Jonathan’s sister, Joella--who quit school years ago and has recently started to college--has just learned that her house is being foreclosed upon. How can she leave Luke, even if he is a liar and cheat, when he is hitting rock bottom?
Right now I’m working on The Accountants, the screenplay for a pilot and television series about a group of misfits working as accountants and dreaming of another life. The protagonist hides the existence of her fiancé, a Vietnam veteran in a mental institution nearby, from her bosses and coworkers.
Looking further ahead, I’m planning to return to a sort of fictionalized memoir approach and tell the story of three generations of my family. I’m starting with my grandmother, who was born in the year 1900, in the first book, entitled “Bell City Bottom,” then moving to the story of my parents in Book 2, and finally to my own story in Book 3. I see this as my most ambitious project to date.
April 1, 2020
For those of you who know me well—and even those of you who don’t—my background as a CPA and accounting professor may seem entirely at odds with my desire to write fiction. I’ve decided to bring the two sides of my brain together in my next project, “The Accountants.”
Since returning home from New Zealand, I’ve been refining my “One-Year Plan to Write a Novel” into a “One-Year Plan to Write a Screenplay.” Now, upon finishing a draft of a revised plan, I’ve begun to apply the plan to a new television pilot and series. I don’t expect “The Accountants” to resemble either the short or the feature film called “The Accountant.” But I do hope mine will be entertaining—sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and sometimes enlightening. I suppose that’s my hope for all my fiction.