Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Who is Rozene Gentry Carson? Peggy Blann Phifer

Who is Rozene Gentry Carson?
By Peggy Blann Phifer

When I signed the contract for the first Sweetland Series—Summer in Sweetland—I already had a rough idea for my story. Being newly widowed myself, I intended to write a character, also recently widowed, who feels cast adrift with nothing much to look forward to except merely existing. Pretty much the way I was feeling.

That’s when Rozene was ‘born’ though for the life of me I can’t honestly explain what made me make her a Native American. She just popped into my head. So I used my well-worn Character-Naming Sourcebook (Writer’s Digest) and searched for an appropriate name. Then I started building her background.

Turns out she was an orphan from birth, didn’t know who her parents were, only that she had been raised and cared-for by her grandmother. Out came that Sourcebook and I discovered a great name, Chenoa. Alas, the names Rozene and Chenoa are not listed under any specific Indian Nation or tribe, so I decided to make them Cherokee. Since Sweetland had no specific location, being more like Anytown, USA, I figured I would be okay. That story was All Things Work Together.

After reading Anne Baxter Campbell’s first story—Mended by Mother’s Day—I was going to have Rozene join the Widow’s group at Arlene Smith’s home, hoping she could find some focus in her life beyond the Gentry Family Restaurant.

Then, I read Sue Badeau’s story—Never Too Old—and I fell in love with her Youth Acres Group Home characters, Shira, Melanie, and Veronica…and Misty, with Sue’s gleeful permission, I began weaving these four girls into the story, and I made Misty Keys a Cherokee, which created an exclusive bond between her and Rozene.

When Diane Pitts’ story—The Summer’s Dance—and I met her characters residing at The Brekenridge at Mt. Laurel…and assisted living facility—I had all the characters I needed to determine the path the whole story would take.
The object of Summer in Sweetland was to write our stories with a goal of something special that would happen at the Labor Day Picnic at City Park.

I carried Rozene and the four girls through ‘Tis the Season in Sweetland, (Silver Bells and Candlelight) and Sonrise in Sweetland, (Perfect for the Job),and am continuing each of their stories in my own series, Sweetwater River, along with Mike Carson, pastor at the Assembly of God church in Sweetland, and introducing new characters. The first title in this series is Ripples.

What will come into play in this series, not specifically mentioned in any of the earlier stories, is the fact that Rozene had inherited several-hundred acres on both sides of the Sweetwater River and how this will impact everyone in coming stories. Coming next, Undercurrents.

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Peggy Blann Phifer retired from an executive assistant position after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale industry. She came to writing later in life when a prayer she wrote appeared in a two-volume Guideposts Book compilation, 'Prayers for Every Need,' in 2000. She self-published her debut novel, 'To See the Sun,' which released in January 2012. Her writing has appeared in three anthologies in 2014 with Helping Hands Press, and a fourth in 2015. Peg is now writing a series of her own with Helping Hands Press titled ‘Sweetwater River.’

Widowed in October 2012, Peg now makes her home in northern Wisconsin in a home she bought together with her daughter and son-in-law. The three of them share the house with one dog, and one grand-dog. She converted a third of the house into a cozy 'apartment' where she spends most of her time writing.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks, elping Hands Press, for hosting my blog post about Rozene, a character dear to my heart. Thanks also for the opportunity to tell her story, and that of the people who inhabit her life.

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