Waiting for the Book (baby)

Cherie Dargan will soon be sharing her soon-to-be-released DEBUT NOVEL, The Gift. This Iowa tale with some surprises from family history marks the beginning of her Grandmother’s Treasures series. Like the Mama robin in our honeysuckle bush just outside my window, Cherie awaits the BIG MOMENT! If you’ve ever anticipated the arrival of either baby or book, I think you’ll appreciate her take on this season of life.

She’s offering a signed copy of THE GIFT to a commenter here. As you’ll see, there’s a very special person at the heart of Cherie’s story.

Every quilt has a story.” The Gift, 2022, WordCrafts Press.

So much energy goes into writing a novel–and then finding a publisher. We don’t talk enough about what happens after you sign the book contract, especially as a novice. I knew I needed to set up an author page on Facebook, create a website, order business cards, and open a new bank account. I made a list of what to do once the book arrives, but until then, I’m stuck waiting.  

A photographer took photos of me with some of the family “treasures” that inspired the series, including a chest built by my grandfather, filled with a dozen vintage quilts. I liked the photos, used them online, then began wondering what the book cover would look like–and will I like it? I looked at my friend Gail’s book covers and felt reassured because we have the same publisher. So, I work on editing the next book, wondering if this will be ‘the day’ that I hear something about my book’s publication or get a preview of the cover. 

Another friend’s new book, with the cover, page numbers and header formatted so nicely, stirred my emotions. I can’t wait for my book to come out! Then, it hits me. I’ve been nesting, something pregnant women do before the births of their babies. Expectant moms paint the nursery, buy a crib, clean, organize, and practice saying baby names out loud. They hope their babies will be healthy. They pat their tummies and stare at the ultrasound pictures in awe.

I don’t pat my tummy, but I worry–will people like my book? Read and review it? Will it help me launch my series? Did I pick a good title? Gail tells me ‌I’m having Braxton Hicks contractions and I’ll be fine once the “baby” is here. But it’s hard to be patient.

Aunt Jeanne in 1945 with her daughter

After all the hard work planning, researching, drafting, and revising the book, I imagine opening the first shipment. Holding my book. Presenting a copy to my Aunt Jeanne, 97, whose real-life experiences as a Rosie Riveter building bombers during WWII inspired me to create a character based on her. Just as I placed my babies in her arms, I can’t wait to sign my book and hand it to this lovely woman who has been like a mother to me.

Together, we’ll celebrate its ‘birth.’

Learn more about Cherie and how to contact her:

Cherie Dargan reinvented herself in retirement. She’s the President of her local League of Women Voters, manages several websites, and continues to research her family history, which goes back to the 1850s in Iowa. Her grandsons are the seventh generation to live in Iowa. 

She describes her writing as women’s fiction set in the Midwest, with a twist of history, mystery, faith, and love.

Grandmother’s Treasures, Book One, set in 2012, takes place in Jubilee Junction, Iowa—a frontier railroad town on the Jubilee River. Three big families—the Nelsons, O’Connors, and Carlsons—founded Jubilee Junction in the early 1850s. Each book in the series focuses on a quilt, a war, or an era in American history, and has dual timelines and narrators, starting with The Gift. 

Aunt Violet—one of the main characters—is based on Aunt Jeanne’s personality, faith, and enduring love for her family.

Retired Professor of Communications Author & Advocate/President, League of Women Voters of Black Hawk-Bremer Counties  



10 thoughts on “Waiting for the Book (baby)

  1. I am excited for you and my own anticipation of reading your book. I have roots in Iowa that go way back in history. The WWII era is a special interest of mine and now that I am retired I plan to turn my energy into delving into the history of my own ancestors. I like the factual history and the added fictional stories that flesh out our picture of life back then.
    I am sure this first new book in a series will be welcomed and enjoyed by everyone who wants to learn from and enjoy the stories of our forefathers in Iowa.

    • Thank you, Connie! Family history fascinates me, and I have a head start because my mother did so much work. She and dad drove all over Iowa and into Missouri to get birth certificates and all sorts of information. Now, we just log onto Ancestry or another database and part of the fun is exploring those hints from other people. My mother left behind a book of family stories and many notebooks with correspondence. She and a childhood friend discussed what was happening during WWII–she was a country schoolteacher and he deployed. She ended up riveting for bombers in California and wrote a chapter about each year of the war. I’ve learned so much from her writing and been able to incorporate some of it into the novels. I hope you’re right. I’d love to see people read this first book and fall in love with Jubilee Junction and Gracie O’Connor and her family!

  2. I’m a (former) quilter, love historical fiction, and believe that the only thing better than an heirloom is an heirloom with a story. I’m so looking forward to your book baby, and I’ll review it on Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub!

    • Joy, it’s lovely to hear from you. Yes, I hope readers like you with some knowledge of quilting won’t groan too much when they learn the book isn’t describing how to quilt. I remember as a little girl telling myself stories about the quilts on my bed at night. My Grandma Nellie once said something similar to my catchphrase–“every quilt has a story.”

      The quilts in my series are tied to family stories—and secrets! As a very accomplished author, you understand how hard it is to wait for the book (baby), but I appreciate your offer. I’d be honored to have you review my book.

      I hope to see you next week at the 20th Anniversary of the Cedar Falls Christian Writers Workshop. :^)

  3. I love reading books based on life stories of special people who have blessed us in some way. I look forward to reading your book. I also enjoy the beauty of vintage quilts knowing each has a history and a story behind it.

    • Irne, thank you so much for your comments. Yes, it’s shocking to realize that my mother died almost 25 years ago and only after my retirement did I have time to skim through more of her writing that made me question my memories. I knew my mom met my dad in California during WWII, that she taught country school, but I started reading and then got on the phone with my aunt and interviewed her. My mom and aunt were both “Rosies” building bombers! So my Aunt Jeanne “gave” me back lost memories and inspired me to tell their stories–hundreds of thousands of women went into the factories, took over the farm, family store, etc. We could not have won the war without them! I based a character on my aunt. So she’s excited about the new baby (book) too!

  4. I’ll be ordering a copy of this book to share as a gift to a dear and precious friend who is also an amazing, prize-winning quilter. I think she’ll enjoy it. Thank you Ms. Gail and Ms. Cherie.

    • Thank you, J. D.! I’ve seen your replies here to other posts. Yes, Miss Gail is a wonderful writer and mentor. I’m so blessed to have her in my life. Remember to tell your friend that I inherited my family’s old quilts—some of them dating to the turn of the century and one to 1860, the subject of book #2, The Legacy. When I was a little girl, I hung out with my mom and women in the church quilting, but I never had the patience to do more than sew on a button. However, old quilts seem infused with the memories and stories of those who created them. I hope your friend enjoys the book!

  5. Writing in retirement isn’t as easy as you might think – glad you got to it.

    There are 350 people in my retirement community – I’m the only novelist. There are poets and memoirists and writers of non-fiction of various kinds, but no one to form a group with who understands the peculiar demands of fiction.

    Kudos for following through!

  6. Thank you, Alice, for commenting about retirement and retirement communities. Yes, I agree that novelists have special interests, skill sets, and it’s not always easy to find someone who understands us. I’m fortunate in that I met Gail about 10-12 years ago at the Cedar Falls Christian Writers Workshop. I’ve been attending for at least that long and always enjoyed her presentations and her wonderful sense of humor. When I needed help, she didn’t hesitate. After reading my draft and giving me some feedback, she said, I think my publisher would like this–and he did! I would look around at the public library or college and see if there is a writer’s group that includes other novelists.

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