With five books finished, printed and in the hands of readers, Sequim’s Alice McCracken says she’s “living the dream.”
McCracken, 78, who goes by Dorothy Rice Bennett for her books, said she felt satisfied after releasing her fourth book, “The Little Red Barn: An Olympic Romance” last year. The lesbian romance novel performed better than her previous three and received a positive reaction for its location —the Olympic Peninsula.
For her newest novel, “Lives Intertwined: Love on Sequim Bay,” she found inspiration in a home she saw near Sequim Bay.
Her plan: Bring six women to one house and have them pair off and find love.
Her setup: McCracken centers her story on Brittany, a veterinarian technician who seeks a home to rent that allows dogs. She finds a home to rent on Sequim Bay but needs help with rent, so she reaches out online. Brittany bonds with a roommate while dog walking.
Another roommate has a friend in Port Angeles who is often referred to the cast — but there’s a looming secret, McCracken said.
“(This) character is a mystery to the rest of them and it’s revealed as time goes on,” she said.
The third couple features a retired pianist whose partner died of cancer, and she finds herself living in a home much too big for her. She moves into the Sequim Bay home and becomes close to the homeowner who has a secret in her past, too.
McCracken said “Lives Intertwined” goes in a direction she hasn’t seen much of, if at all, in romance novels with older protagonists.
“One woman is in her 60s and the other in her 70s; that’s an age group that doesn’t get much attention in romantic literature,” she said. “It seems that everything with romance stops at 40.”
However, the romance remains light and feels like it could all really happen, McCracken said.
“Romance stories don’t tend to be fraught with all kinds of terrible things,” she said. “I try to keep things as realistic as possible.
“Each person has fears and baggage from the past. They meet someone who is likable and they have to work through those things together.”
Early in writing “Life Intertwined,” McCracken said everything was going well until COVID-19 hit the states.
“Everyone including me went into a huge depression,” she said. “As inspired as I had been, I was just feeling down, scared and having nightmares.”
But after a few months, McCracken said, “something inside (me) started to wake up again.”
“I got myself gradually organized again,” she said.
That included writing the story out of sequence and switching between characters and scenes.
“I did what came easier for me,” McCracken said. “I’ve never done it like that before, but it was a lot of fun.”
“If I hadn’t loved the materials so much, I might have given up.”
With her previous novels, McCracken said friends have asked for sequels but after each one she’s felt done.
“In this case (with ‘Lives Intertwined’), I felt I couldn’t give them each enough attention,” she said.“I don’t feel done with them.”
The possibility for a sequel does exist, but McCracken said it might focus on one couple exclusively. She’s unsure of exactly who and when, however.
“I’m 78. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do that,” she said.
McCracken encourages people that it’s never too late to write.
“Lives Intertwined: Love on Sequim Bay” is available in print and digital formats on Amazon.
For more information about Dorothy Rice Bennett/Alice McCracken, visit dorothyricebennett.com or email her at email@example.com.