by Tiffany Amber Stockton
Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of a state fair. I blame it on my father, a fun-loving man who had a love of musicals and wanted to share that love with me. Countless hours were spent sitting together on the couch, watching the stars of each film sing and dance their way into my heart and soul. Each one of those films had a story to tell, and I remember anticipating the moment when a song would commence. They don’t make movies like that anymore.
One of those classics was State Fair by Rodgers & Hammerstein. This duo made quite a few musical hits in a variety of films, and while The Sound of Music definitely tops my list as a favorite, State Fair lands at a close second. Two different versions of this story were done, one set in Texas and one in Iowa. I definitely prefer the one set in Iowa.
I don’t know what it is about this one. Perhaps it’s the portrayal of a simple farm life and a girl longing for more than the status quo. Perhaps it’s the dream of winning big and working hard all year simply to become better than you were the year before. Perhaps it was the close-knit family and the obvious affection they held for each other, as well as the way they would do anything for one another. Whatever it is, I know this musical in particular is one I find myself watching again and again.
It's ironic, don’t you think, that I have actually never been to a state fair. Surprising, I know. You would think I’d be an annual attendee in light of my fascination with them and my love of the musical with the same name. It isn’t because I never tried or never had the desire. There were several times when an opportunity would arise, but something would happen, and my dream of getting to a fair has yet to materialize.
That’s why we have movies and books, though, right? We can travel to places we’ve never been and experience things we’ve never seen right in the pages of a good book. That’s why I jumped at the chance to work with the other authors in the Blue Ribbon Brides collection. Several of us were brainstorming one day, sharing our desire to want to work together and collaborate on something, and the idea of a state fair theme arose.
We weren’t sure of the title at that time, but we did know we wanted the quest for a blue ribbon in some category to be part of every story. We also wanted to capitalize on the unique geographic locations where state fairs are held, so we each decided to take a different town as well as a different year and make them our focal point for our stories. As a result, a collection featuring state fairs throughout American history was born.
For my story, Front Paige Love, I went back to my love of the musical and chose a similar idea of a young lady who is about to settle for the predictable life when she meets an unpredictable gentleman at the fair. All of a sudden, accepting what’s comfortable and expected of her seems to be the less desirable choice. Instead, she finds herself drawn to this stranger in ways she can’t explain. Through their shared time together, they both discover a long-held desire to do something they’ve never done before, and they help each other accomplish them. This binds them together on a deeper level and awakens both of their hearts to the possibilities of something greater than either of them imagined.
Yes, I know. I might have stretched the fanciful a bit, but as I mentioned above, there’s a sort of magic surrounding the idea of a state fair in my mind, and I wanted to portray that with my story. For those of you who have also seen the movie Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, you’ll find a cameo appearance of a man highlighted in that movie. What can I say? Movies inspire me. When certain ones make an imprint on my heart, I find a way to give them a nod in the stories I write.
Thanks for spending a few minutes with me this week and getting a peek into at least one of the stories of this new collection. I’m sure you’ll enjoy all nine of the stories in Blue Ribbon Brides. Don’t forget to look for the mention of the prize-winning peaches in each novella. Happy reading
About the Author
Tiffany Amber Stockton is an award-winning author and speaker who works in anti-aging and wellness and lives with her husband and author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, and two children in Colorado. To date, she has sold 20 books with more on the horizon. Three of her novels have won annual readers’ choice awards. www.amberstockton.com.
About the Book
Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man?