Donna Everhart

First Sentence Friday! Chapter Five

The back flap copy of the book cover says, “Wallis Ann is as practical and sturdy as her name.”

An early reviewer who posted on Goodreads, said, “Wallis Ann is a fantastic main character. She is strong and can work like a man but she still has the feelings of a young girl.”

These two pieces of information about my protagonist, who is only fourteen, give you a hint as to what sort of person she is.  It’s clear from those statements she’s hardworking, and effectual in getting things done.  You’ll hear writers talk about getting to know their characters, and that’s absolutely a true statement.  That’s just what happens.  What was a bit different about Wallis Ann is I already had in mind one particular trait about her, and that was she needed to be strong.  Not only physically, but mentally.

As I’ve written these stories, I tend to start thinking of my characters in a very personal way.  I start to “see” them, and “hear” them, and know how they would react.  This doesn’t happen instantly.  I have to keep writing and writing, until, just like getting to know a real person, I’ve spent sufficient time and know them as well as I do myself.  Since I like to have an element of danger in my stories, this makes for interesting character building.

In THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE that danger was human, while in THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET, it’s nature, the struggle for basic needs and choices made.  One thing is a fact, Dixie was a true survivor of something horrific…and Wallis Ann is too.


After I left Mrs. Stout, I walked fast to make up time, only stopping long enough to eat a couple of crackers.

A Publishers Lunch BUZZ BOOK Fall/Winter 2017, and a SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) Trio Pick for 2018, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET releases December 26th, 2017.  

***I’m using #FirstSentenceFridays on Twitter and tagging @Kensington Publishing Corporation.  Follow along and tweet out/share if you’d like!***



9 thoughts on “First Sentence Friday! Chapter Five”

  1. Thank you for sharing your character building process, Donna! It fascinates me, and I learn so much from you. As for Wallis Ann, she sounds AMAZING, and I can’t wait to meet her! <3 <3 <3

    1. You’re welcome Lilac, if it helped at all, that’s good! I always say I hope people will love Wallis Ann as much as Dixie! 🙂 <3<3<3

  2. Ooh, saltines, I remember those. I also remember a mess of young adventures and misadventures fueled by them. Too bad that you can spend an hour looking at crackers in a modern grocery store and not think of them anymore.

    Survivor types, there are so many of them and they have so many coping mechanisms to help them along the way. I am looking forward to seeing those you have given Wallis Ann. Right now it seems that you will have a breakout here. I hope it does that for you.

    1. These are the kind of crackers they used to keep in a barrel, uneven broken pieces, unlike the perfect squares we know today. The old lady had a tin of them, and gave them to her. 🙂

      I don’t know about a breakout – that would be fantastic, but I shy away from thinking too hard on any of it, and just hope it does as well as DIXIE, or even a little better. I’d be happy with that, but thank you for the good wishes!

  3. Funny thing is that I was just thinking of you this morning and wondering if you have another book out yet and then this pops up in my email feed from LinkedIn. I finished Dixie in just a few days. Now, I’m excited to see who this Walls Ann is and what’s her story all about. Congrats on doing so well, Donna!

    1. Hi Donna – long time! I remember you reading a bit of the story WAY back then and saying “I want to know what happens to that little girl!” Thank you for reading – I hope you’ll like Wallis Ann’s story too! Hope all is going well for you….

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