TRANQUILITY-What It’s All About

When I tell people I wrote a book, the first question they ask is, “What is it about?”. Summing up an 80,000 word novel in a few sentences isn’t easy. It was even harder when I sat down to write the dreaded query letter I would later send to publishers and agents, trying to interest them in seeing my manuscript. I spent hours researching sites that offer advice on writing queries. The one thing they all seemed to agree on was that the first couple of lines need to hook the reader into wanting to know more. I agonized over it for days, writing and re-writing those first sentences. Finally, I read something that made it click. Fiction stories nearly always start with a “What if”. What was Tranquility’s what if? What if someone was put into the dementia unit of a nursing home when they didn’t have dementia? There I had the premise of my story and the hook line for my first query letter summed up in one sentence.

Once I explain what Tranquility is about, it’s the characters people are interested in. No matter how plot-driven a story is, it’s the characters that matter. It’s hard for a reader to care what happens next if they don’t care about the characters. I want readers to become as invested in Tranquility’s characters as I am, to care about their goals, their dilemmas and what’s at stake for them.

Today, I’m including a brief synopsis of Tranquility and a few of the main characters. I hope it intrigues you enough to want to read on.

Tranquility belies its name. Behind the nursing home’s serene exterior hides a sinister secret as old as the home itself.

Soon after being transferred to Tranquility’s dementia unit, support worker Sarah Scott suspects the foul-tempered employee in charge of bathing residents of abuse. Doing the right thing could mean losing her job. Sarah’s a young, single mom, struggling to find a balance as she cares for her grandmother and acts as an emotional crutch for her mother. Unemployment is not an option.

Meanwhile, Sarah questions whether her newest resident, Edie, belongs in the locked unit. The feisty, Scottish woman certainly doesn’t act as though she has dementia. Sarah’s determined to have her released, but her plans are thwarted when Edie risks her own freedom to help find the proof needed to stop the abuse.

About Laurie Gardiner

Laurie has loved writing as long as she can remember. Her first published work, “'Til Death Do Us Part,” placed first in the 1997 Cambridge Writers’ Collective short story contest. Her latest works include short stories, “Retribution" and "Thief," appearing respectively in Scout Media's 2016 and 2017 anthologies, A Journey of Words and A Haunting of Words. Over the years, her poetry has also been published in various anthologies. Her debut novel, Tranquility, published in 2015, by Escargot Books and Music, was inspired by her work as a personal support worker specializing in dementia care. In 2015, she graduated with honors from Conestoga College’s Creative Writing program. She’s a Canadian, an avid reader, a yogi, and a Gemini. She grew up on a farm in remote northern Ontario, and now lives in Cambridge, Ontario with her husband and cat.
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4 Responses to TRANQUILITY-What It’s All About

  1. cariwiese says:

    It sounds unique and interesting. I don’t think I’ve heard an idea similar to that. Great post, and thank you for visiting my blog!


  2. Anne Marie says:

    This is a great post! I also struggled with condensing my novel into a few sentences and a great hook, but I believe in my characters and want to make sure I tell the best version of their story.
    I’m totally intrigued by Tranquility. The premise is unique and I’m curious about the characters already.
    Can’t wait to read it!


    • Thanks Anne Marie. The whole process of writing and publishing a book was a huge learning curve. It’s been a long road, but it’s also rewarding.
      I’m so glad you like the premise of my story. Please be sure to let me know when yours is available 🙂


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