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A Bit of Home: Story Inspiration - Debora Dale
Debora Dale Alt logo
where fear and passion collide
Debora Dale Alt logo
where fear and passion collide

Inspiration for What?

Dani Moyer, heroine from my romantic suspense novel, Surrender at Canyon Road, carries a beloved bit of memorabilia with her wherever she goes. This item is an integral part of her world. It’s her past, her present, and her future. It belonged to her mother, who made it with love and painstaking attention to detail.

Grandma's Candy Jar

The item Dani keeps with her is a ceramic, puppy-shaped candy jar…similar to one I happen to have as well.

Art from Life

While it’s true my own mom didn’t make my jar from scratch or paint it with fine, life-like details, it’s still a precious piece for me. It was a gift from my grandmother.

She gave it to me years ago when I bought my first house, and it had a prominent spot, alone, on a shelf where it could be seen from nearly all angles. As I had moved to another state, seeing that jar reminded me of home and family and the love that was always there.

A Character’s Bond

Since family means everything to my heroine, I needed a trinket that could encapsulate that love of family for her. As I considered what it could be, my gaze fell on my own little jar.

It made me smile. It made me remember precious moments. It brought back a flash of my grandmother’s voice. Her laugh. Her silliness.

And I had my answer.

A Link to Home and Family

Wherever Dani went, through whatever hardships or terrors she was forced to face (mwaahaahaa!), the memories connected to that jar grounded her. Made her think about all she had overcome in the past, all she had lost, all she had gained. And how she never quit.

It’s not simply a ceramic jar meant to hold sweets.  It’s life. It’s love. And it’s hope.


“What’s in the box Dani?”

“Everything and nothing.”

He leaned into her, spoke softly. “Open it.”

“No.” It was her past to forget. Her past to remember. In her own time, in her own way. He wouldn’t understand, and explaining would take away the feeling, leave a void whenever she did open it and look at her things, held them and remembered.

She rarely did that. Rarely revisited the past or tried to connect to that time. And now, it was getting harder to do that. Harder to remember.

“It’s my life,” she said. “Memories of it. Of mama.”

His hands had still on her shoulders and now he caressed them again, soothing her. Lulling her. “Go on,” he said in a whisper.

“It’s things that remind me of her. Of how I felt with her near me.” That memory would never fade. What it felt like to be held and read to and… “She’d sing to me when I was scared.”

She didn’t want to think of the song or her mother’s voice. Just the feeling she had when she heard it. When she thought too hard, the memory shifted, and the sound of her mother’s voice changed. Started to sound like her own.

“What scared you?”

She shook her head.

“What scared you, Dani?”


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