New book, book signing for Washington author

Published 4:13 pm Thursday, November 1, 2018

Historic homes, a vibrant past, a thriving arts scene, ghostly apparitions — these are but some of Washington’s many claims to fame, and each of these elements plays a role in “Drenched Sunflowers,” Washington resident Tammera Cooper’s debut work of fiction.

Drawing inspiration from Washington and its people, Cooper’s first novel is the beginning of a greater series she calls “The Water Street Chronicles.” On Saturday, from 1 to 3 p.m., the author will host a book signing for her new work at the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum.

“The complete process of book one has taken four years,” Cooper said. “At the beginning I had to find my voice.”

Telling a tale of contemporary romance in Washington, “Drenched Sunflowers” revolves around a woman named Beth who comes to town to start over after losing her husband. With the goal of renovating a historic home on Water Street to open an art gallery, stress over the construction project and new business give way to nightmares and visions of ghosts.

Her contractor, Sam, juggles that job with his role as a teacher. In his newest project, he sees a beautiful client, a home with an intriguing history and a mystery in an unearthed diary from the 18th century.

“The characters are fictional, but it was inspired by the restaurants and shops on Main Street,” Cooper said. “They eat at the local restaurants and go on dates on the waterfront.”

A third supporting character, Selah, is inspired by the history on display at the Underground Railroad Museum. The ghost of a woman who knitted code quilts to help escaped slaves find their way to freedom, Selah offers readers insight into Washington’s unique position on the Underground Railroad.

“The story is basically a story of hope,” Cooper said. “Even though Beth has been through the ringer of life and is trying to start again, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Selah, even though she’s a ghost, she becomes that source of hope to remind Beth that it’s OK, to keep on going and keep the future ahead of her.”

While the story itself is contemporary, the richness of Washington’s history shines throughout the tale, offering readers something of a history lesson wrapped within the narrative. A lifelong fan of historical romance, Cooper says this was certainly intentional.

Copies of “Drenched Sunflowers” will be for sale during the signing and can be purchased at the Underground Railroad Museum. The book is also available for purchase online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

According to a biography provided by the author, Tammera Cooper grew up on the Rappahannock River in Virginia watching the riverside community change with the times but remaining the same in spirit. The waterside lifestyle is in her blood and influences her writing every day. Currently, she lives in Washington, writing and sharing the small town’s history with her readers. She is a member of the Pamlico Writers Group, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America. For more information, visit www.southernromanceonthepam