Do you know the site Genius.com?  It takes song lyrics and explains where they came from.  You search a song you’re interested in, like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and you can click on each lyric to see Genius’s commentary.  Sometimes the commentary is a generic discussion of where else you might hear a similar lyric or postulating on the meaning of the lyric; other times, you get to hear what the artist said about that line in various interviews.

You know what I thought some of my readers might like?  Learning where particular lines or passages came from.  Kind of like Genius.com except with parts of my novels.

So here are a few from To Have Loved & Lost.  If you enjoy this exploration, let me know if there are other books, segments, or passages you’d like me to explain.

The Coffee Shop in To Have Loved & Lost

Alex waits for Graham in a sunny spot by the window at Black Joe’s, twirling her coffee stirrer lackadaisically while she watches people on the sidewalk pass by.  Everyone’s in warm-weather clothes today — the girls in light, floral dresses; the boys in shorts and flip flops.  It’s two-thirds of the way through March, and although home isn’t as warm as Gainesville was, Alex’s glad that the dreariest part of the month is over.  It’s hard enough for her to keep her spirits up without having to contend with grey skies all the time.

I’ve mentioned before that I loosely based Rosemont University on my own alma mater, Duke University (go Blue Devils!).  The coffee shop I call “Black Joe’s” in the book is based on one of my regular college haunts — Francesca’s, which is a dessert place and coffee place.  It’s situated close to Duke’s East Campus, so a lot of people go there to study.  I have lots of fond memories of Francesca’s…

I took my very first girlfriend on our very first date to Francesca’s.  🙂 We sat against that brick wall below the paintings.

Recently, I took my current girlfriend while we were both traveling through North Carolina to Francesca’s.  We sat outside and drank tea.  It was nice.

As I wrote the scene, I imagined Alex sitting at the bar in front of that big window, watching the people on the sidewalk go by.  Graham walks through the front door in basically the spot where the photo was taken from.

What do you think?  Have any other segments you’d like for me to explain?


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