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Story Building and Book Giveaway

I’m excited to have bestselling author Lauraine Snelling with us today. How does a story present itself to an author? Where do the ideas come from?

You may Lauraine Snelling for her historical fiction, in particular, her Norwegian immigrant series. Here, Lauraine shares the story building process for her new contemporary novel, Heaven Sent Rain. And she’s giving away a copy!


lauraine-winston-1[1]Every book I write seems to come about in some different way and Heaven Sent Rain was no different. I have no idea where the picture came from in my mind, but one day I saw the image of a little boy in a blue jacket and baseball cap, with a motley, mutly dog sitting beside him. They sat on a city street, backs up against a concrete building, his head down, arms crossed over his knees. In the rain.

My first questions were: who, what, when, why and where, the five W’s I learned when I first started writing. In this case, I had no idea.

I have learned through the years that if the picture is a story starter, write a description and see what happens. The image did not go away. Contract time rolled around and my editor asked if I had any ideas for more books. I described this scene to her and she asked the same W questions. How do you shrug over the phone? But I agreed to write a brief summary of this idea and several others and send them in.

Time to give this some real time and thought. Did the boy live on the streets? No, too clean. And he had a school backpack.

Through the years I have learned to relax and watch a scene unfold on the movie screen of my mind. So, I did just that. A woman walked up, carrying an umbrella and stylishly dressed all in white, including white leather boots, and both a leather brief case and hobo style bag. She talked to the boy. The dog pricked her ears. The boy stood, and together the woman and the boy approached a food place of some kind. She invited him in, but he couldn’t follow her inside because of the dog. She brought him back a bag of food. He took the sandwich out of the bag and he and the dog walked off while she entered the building.

That’s when I opened my notebook and started a page for each character. Boy: Jonah. Dog: Downdamit. I changed to the nickname of Mutt since that first name would not fly in my market. Woman: an executive of her own company with offices in that building. Her name: now there was a challenge. I finally settled on Dinah. Names are really important to me before I can continue. Dinah fit for this story. The Biblical character of Dinah was quite a fighter, this Dinah would be too.

Another question to always ask your characters is: What do you want? Dinah wanted to find food products to help diabetics. Why did she want it? Her little brother died years earlier of a diabetic coma.

Once I know who my characters are and what they want, it’s my job as a writer to create things that can stand in their way. The hero in this story walked on stage the night Mutt had been attacked by dogs and Jonah called Dinah for assistance because his mother was too sick to help. Garret is the veterinarian they find in an urgent care clinic that night. He draws caricatures of his young clients and their pets and has them posted all over the clinic walls.


The story grew into the novel Heaven Sent Rain. I love the title, and the characters in this story took up special places in my heart. I guess I would be in trouble if they didn’t, since we spent many hours together while I pieced together their stories and braided them into a novel fit to be sent out to bless my readers.




Purchase a copy of Heaven Sent Rain now.


Connect with Lauraine . . .

On her website

On Facebook



Congratulations to Jackie McNutt, who won the signed copy of HEAVEN SENT RAIN! 

Comments 44

  1. Thank you for sharing. I would love a chance to win Heaven Sent Rain. It sounds like a heart touching book. lisastifler(at)yahoo(dot)com
    ~ Blessings ~

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  2. You are both favorite authors of mine and I have read all of your books. Can’t wait to read this one too!
    Wishing happy days to everyone. 🙂

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  3. Great authors write great books. Creative juices flow and pages are filled. Thank you both for what you do.

    melback at cebridge dot net

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  4. I loved Lauraine’s Red River series, but have also read a contemporary or two by her. All very good! Thanks for sharing today.

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  5. This is quite different from the Lauraine Snelling books I have read yet it is really interesting. I love the way she started with image of that little boy and moved from it…fwd.
    Lauraine you sure are talanted, God has blessed you to be a wonderful story teller. I want to read this story. thanks for sharing the giveaway.

  6. Have read and loved your books for many years. My daughter managed a Christian book store and got me started reading your books, and I can hardly wait for a new one one to come out! God Bless !!

  7. Sounds like an interesting story– liked reading about how it was inspired by a mental image. I think authors are quite amazing, how you can create characters and paint them with words so well. It’s a gift!

  8. enjoyed learning more about this book and the process to get to the final story – the characters sound like people I would like to know and love a good story with a dog. Also like the rain in the title

  9. What fun this morning to read all your comments. I too love to hear from authors how their books came about. We are each different and do things differently, but the end product is what counts

    The most important end product of this process is all of you, our readers. How wonderful it is to hear how our books and characters impact lives.

    That is the greatest gift of all. I LOVE reading, always have and I love talking about the books I’ve read.
    Come on over to my Lauraine Snelling official page on FB.

  10. Lauraine , Loved hearing how your book came together ! Looks like a very interesting story and I look forward to reading it soon.

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  11. Hi, dear Mona!! I loved learning about Lauraine’s story building process for Heaven Sent Rain. How fascinating! I am eager to read this special story and appreciate the giveaway opportunity.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  12. Lauraine is one of my favorite authors! It is always interesting to see how authors come up with book ideas. Thanks for the chance to win!

  13. Thanks for sharing with us! I’m always in awe of writers’ ability to have an idea, then weave it into a whole story.

  14. My mother introduced me to Lauraine’s books a few years back. Last year when Lauraine came to Green Bay, Wi, I introduced mom to Lauraine. I had met Lauraine when we stopped at the Loves Truckstop at Tehachapi. We’ve been friends since. I would love to read this new book. I love all her books. 🙂

  15. CANNOT wait to read this book! All of Lauraine’s characters become so real, and can always draw me closer to the Lord. God bless both of you!

  16. Hello Mona and Lauraine. I loved reading about the pictures in your head. I get those too when I go to bed. Sometimes they keep me awake. BUT, mine never make sense. And they don’t keep running around in my head later. But to hear it from an author is interesting. I like the cover and the title. I would like to win this book. Please put my name in the drawing. I am a follower. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  17. Lauraine is my favorite author and I am always looking forward to seeing where her books are going to take me! When I sit down to read any of Lauraine’s books I feel like I am right there with her! I am looking forward to this one too!

  18. I would love to win Heaven Sent. Rain! Sounds like it would be an inspiration to read. I have read most of your books. They have all been wonderful! See you at Hostfest! Blessings, Darlene

  19. I love Lauraine Snellings books, I have the complete set of the red river series and loved every one of the books. Ive also read other books as well and I havent found a bad one yet.I would love to read this book , even if I dont get a free copy, I will still read it.

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  21. Receiving one of your books in the mal would be so nice it would give me the chance to known another auther an what your book would be like. I am always looking for new styles of books.
    thank you for this chance Karen.

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