New York City flight attendant Annie Taylor is grounded, putting a halt to her weekends in Rome and jet-setting lifestyle. Soon her boyfriend’s true nature is revealed, and to make matters worse, she loses her apartment. In the midst of her crashing life, Annie leaves the city for the family farm in Kentucky, a place she’s avoided for years. She finds a shotgun-wielding grandmother, a farm in disrepair, and a suspicious stranger renting the old stone house. The country quiet haunts Annie with reminders of a past that can’t be changed. She tries persuading her ailing grandmother to sell the farm, but is met with stubborn refusal. Childhood friend Jake Wilder is contemplating a leap off the corporate ladder to follow his passion for sustainable farming. Nearly ready to propose to Camille, a girl who wants more, not less, Annie believes Jake is making a terrible mistake. After all these years, does she have the right to tell him? As the summer heats up, so do Annie’s unexpected feelings for Jake and her love for the land. She sees a glimmer of hope for a second chance. But just as she is finding common ground with her grandmother, a phone call from New York forces her to choose between the past and the future.
This scene is one of my favorites. Annie and Beulah are in the garden and Beulah is teaching Annie how to plant the tomatoes. The heart of Grounded is about a women of two different generations, both strong in their own right, coming together to learn from each other. It's not easy and there's a rub. But over time, they each realize how much they need each other. This scene is the beginning of that discovery.
Before marriage took me back to the farm, I traveled all over the United States for my job. I was always fascinated with the life of a flight attendant but I also realized it wasn't as glamorous as it might look on the surface. When I decided to write about Annie's life as an international flight attendant, I interviewed both a pilot and flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, both of whom flew internationally. They both gave me insight as to what life was life on the overseas flights, what took place before a flight, and afterwards. I also learned how they "bid" for flights. My goal was to make the scenes real so when folks in the airline industry read Grounded, they will know I did my homework.
Writing Beulah Campbell was easy for me, even though I am in my forties and she is in her seventies. She's everywoman to me, the grandmother I never had, the pieces and parts of all the country women I have known in my life. She has a dry sense of humor and an ability to show deep compassion; but Beulah minces no words when truth needs to be spoken. Many of her sayings come from my mother's family. "Good Rain, Good Rain," was something my grandfather said so often that it became a mantra in our own family. He was a farmer all his life and raised his last tobacco crop when he was 92 but he lived to be 98. Beulah was named after my husband's aunt and it reminds me of a true Kentucky name. She is my ode to all I love about strong country women.
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