Work of fiction is a blog of work

Work of fiction is a blog of work
Gretchen Cooper, of Rochester, is blogging a book about the Mayo Brothers. Cooper is joined by her daughters Naima, 3, and Gianna, 3 months.

A combination of history of the Mayo brothers and a new revolution in book publishing inspired Gretchen Cooper, of Rochester, to write her first novel.

Titled "Dinner at the Big House," the book is a fictional story set in Rochester's historic places, including Mayowood Mansion.

"I had wanted to write a fictional story about the area of Mayowood for years," said Cooper, who started reading about the Mayo family in 2000 while renting an apartment at Ivy Lodge, the original home of Dr. Charles Mayo located down the hill from Mayowood.

She didn't act on her inspiration, however, until she started following Nina Amir's blog "How to Blog a Book."

"Her tips and advice for blogging a book gave me the idea to try it, and see how it works," said Cooper, a stay-at-home mom who wrote an ebook last year for a nonprofit group. "Drop by Drop" helps build wells in South Sudan.


So far, blogging the book as she goes has been a work of trial and error with both pros and cons, she said.

"The cool thing about blogging a book is that you can go back and change it at any time," she said noting that while the creative side of writing comes easily for her, she needs to work at fine tuning the technical and editing side of it.

And while her typos and grammar errors are out there for everyone to see, she can also get constructive feedback from readers, who she said she hopes will help direct the story.

Since her first post on Jan. 31, she's already had readers from as far as Costa Rica and Italy, she said. 

"It gives you a little more inspiration to keep writing," she said.

Plus, once it's complete, it's all laid out if she chooses to publish it, she said.

The story follows 22-year-old Gage Williams, a fictional great-great-grandson of Charles H. Mayo who is in Rochester from Colorado while his mother undergoes cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic. During his stay, he strikes up a friendship with Guinn Ivy Fate, a 40-year-old stay-at-home mom, who's character is loosely based on Cooper.

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