The work-in-progress blog tour: about my novel-in-progress

During this Hanukkah and Christmas season I can’t help feeling grateful for all that this past year has provided. I’m especially grateful to my dear writing friends – some I’ve met in person and some not – who have brought me continued wisdom about the writing process and such joy in knowing them and their writing work.

First of all thanks to Kathy Pooler, author of her new memoir: Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, for tagging me to participate in this blog tour. Kathy’s memoir is a must read if you haven’t yet.

So here goes:

My Work in Progress

Synopsis and story idea :

My novel, Papa’s Shoes, is the story of a family immigrating to America in the early 1900s and a daughter’s coming of age in the 1920s in downstate Illinois and Chicago. Some other things going on in the book life in a Polish stetl, early 19th century Chicago and Illinois, a woman’s role in society at that time, religious prejudice, interfaith marriage, and a feisty mother-daughter relationship.

Papa' shoes (1)

I got the idea while my husband was working on our family history. My aunt, my father’s sister, had written some stories about her early life, and some of these stories became part of the history. In one story she told about a young teacher at her high school who took a fancy to her. He took her to school plays and concerts. It was all on the up and up until her brother (my father) decided to put a stop to it. He didn’t want her to get involved with someone who wasn’t Jewish. As a result he got his family to move to Chicago from the small town where they lived so his sister would have a chance to meet a nice Jewish man. What peaked my interest the most was that she wrote about a page about this man and their dates and that she remembered his name. It made me think she really loved this man. So I thought, why not write her story and have her go back to the small town and marry him?


I’ve written the entire book, and now I’m revising it for at least the fifth time. Four beta readers reviewed the last draft. I’m knee-deep in implementing their suggestions.

Here are brief excerpts from my first three chapters:


As Ira Schuman pulls on his beard with one hand and twirls his payess with the other, he looks at the steady stream of customers going in and out of the shop with the red and white awning.

Chapter One:

Ira is tired. He has been traveling for weeks to get back to the one place he never wanted to see again Sokolow, Poland. When he left two years ago, he was done with it. He had planned never to speak of Sokolow, Poland and its poverty, its constant cold and damp dark air, and its dreary, dirty, unsanitary existence for the rest of his life.  He ventured out to find a better life in a new young country, and once settled the only thing left to do was to send for his family in Poland and arrange for them to join him in America.

Chapter Two:

Though it is morning, Ira and Ruth’s bedroom is dark. The frosted and scratched glass in the one tiny window barely lets any light into this room just large enough for the bed, one side table and a bureau. The walls, once painted white, are dark and dingy from the constant doses of smoke coming from the kitchen fireplace. Old gray rag rugs lay on the floor on each side of the bed.


The work-in-progress blog tour rules

1.  Link back to the post of the person who nominated you

2.  Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress (I overachieved a bit on this one).

3.  Nominate four or more other writers to do the same.

Tag. You’re it!

I’m so pleased to recognize and introduce you to my friends and writing colleagues who have agreed to participate in this  work-in-progress blog tour. I hope you’ll stop by their sites and get to know them and their wonderful work. I can’t wait to read about their works in progress:

Heather Friedman Rivera – Heather is the author of five books, her most recent is Into Exaltia. I look forward to hearing what she  is writing now.

Marla Miller – Marla’s latest book is Deadly Little Secrets and I absolutely loved it. aI can’t wait to read her next one.

Eleanor Vincent – I met Eleanor in the year 2000 at Esalen Institute when we were both starting our memoirs about the deaths of our firstborn children. Eleanor’s memoir, Swimming with Maya, in an award winning and NY Times best selling book.

Sherrey Meyer – I almost got to meet Sherrey over the Thanksgiving week. We promise to try again soon. Sherrey’s work in progress is a memoir. Please go to her website to read all about it.

Linda Joy Myers – Linda Joy is the founder and chief executive of the National Association of Memoir Writers and author of her memoir, Don’t Call Me Mother. She says she has two works in progress.

How about you? Do you have a work in progress you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you.


  1. Thank you for your kind mention, Madeline. You’ve already hooked me into wanting to read your novel with these sentences from your Prologue and first two chapters. I’m also looking forward to hearing from the authors you have tagged. The WIP Tour has been a wonderful way to share our work and support one another. Wishing you the best in finishing and publishing your novel. I appreciate you sharing your process.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Thank you Kathy for tagging me. I agree that this is a wonderful way to share and support. I’m so glad you’ve resonated with my few sentences. I very much value your opinion. And wishing you the best on finishing your new memoir. xo

  2. Papa’s Shoes looks like a fascinating story! I love family sagas with an historical twist. I am working on a book about my experiences as a teacher and also a follow-up memoir to Akin to the Truth about life as an adult adoptee and reconnecting with my birth father and his family. (Neither WIP has a title yet.)


    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Thanks so much, Paige. I appreciate your thoughts on my novel’s story. I also look forward to hearing more about your WIPs. I’m very impressed that you have two!
      All best in finishing them and getting them published. xo

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