I got the story for June Bug while watching an old RV chug into a Walmart parking lot near where we live. All across America, RVs are often found there at the start of the business day. At most locations, store policy allows limited free parking overnight. I had this idea of a little girl stepping out of an RV one morning and walking into the store, only to find a picture of herself on the wall of missing children. That idea propelled me forward. I had to know more about her father in the RV. Was he really her father? What happened to her mother? The story just snowballed in my mind and that it wound up back in Dogwood, West Virginia was not a surprise to me.
June Bug has to find out the truth about her dad, the mother he rarely speaks about, and ultimately herself. In a way, it's a modern interpretation of Les Miserables, though Victor Hugo has nothing to worry about. You will feel echoes of that story, one of my favorites of all time. We follow this dilapidated RV cross-country with June Bug and her father, a man running from a haunted past. Forces beyond their control draw them down a winding path that will change their lives forever.
Interesting thing about the title. I didn't have a name for the girl...I did have her real name, but I didn't have the pet name for the girl until I was at a writing conference put on by the Christian Writers Guild. I was listening to Dave Lambert talk about fiction and how you need to tap into the things in your childhood that connected with you. I was taking notes, really engaged with what was going on, and out of the blue I wrote on my notebook, "June Bug." I drew a little bug and had its wings fluttering. It was one of those happy memories I had of childhood, catching a junebug and tying a string to it and letting it fly around.
I kept listening to the presentation and then I nearly shouted when I looked down, because I hadn't connected the "June Bug" with the title of the book I was working on or the girl's name. It was such a purely creative moment. I wish I had those every day.
I'm told the book has been selling in Walmarts in the South. If you have one near you, please let them know how much you appreciate them carrying the book. I'm not doing any signings in Walmarts. But if we sell enough copies, I may just buy an RV and...