Sunday, October 25, 2020

Have You Ever Been Jealous of Your Book Heroines?

Jealousy is a human emotion that we've all experienced in some form or fashion during our lives. It can happen in love, in job promotions, in athletics. It's frequently used in novels to advance the plot, or to show the bad from the good. 

This question is for the readers and authors out there. Have you ever immersed yourself so completely in a story line that you became jealous of the life of the hero or heroine? Has their life been so ideal, so exciting, so filled with love, that you wish you could change places with your character? 

I'm having those feelings today. I recently finished the last book in my Revolutionary Women trilogy. The founding of America was an exciting time, and the Sons of Liberty were the original bad boys. A friend of mine said if they were around today, they'd be gun-toting tattooed men dressed in black leather and riding big motorcycles. I have to admit, the image made my heart flutter. All the women in my stories have become immersed in the Revolution and their men were each a member of the Sons of Liberty, and it's made me jealous. 

Maybe it's because of the times we're all living in. Or maybe it's because my year-long immersion in the Revolutionary War era has made me acutely aware of our nation's government and struggles. I have become more politically active this cycle than ever before. I've written letters to my local newspaper, to my congressmen and senators, I've attended rallies and participated in a political protest. I stood in line for two hours on the first day of early voting to assure that my voice would be heard. I am a member of the Lincoln Project. I encouraged people who have never voted that they needed to register this time around. But did I do enough? Would Sam Adams and Benjamin Edes look kindly on my deeds, or would they still paint a big "T" on my door to signify I am a member of the opposition?

Maybe I need to write another Revolutionary War book. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Going In Another Direction

 As most of you know, I had to go car shopping again, due to a disastrous encounter with a semi-truck. I've owned a Jeep for decades, so of course, I went to my comfort zone when looking for a replacement to my Renegade. 

What happened next surprised me. 

I checked out the used and new Jeeps on the lot and nothing spoke to me. I was extremely frustrated, but my salesman was not. He asked me to expand my horizons and to trust him, both of which I am usually loathe to do. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and told him to surprise me. Here's the result: 

Yes, it's an adorable Mini Cooper! 

After years of driving a silver car, the color of this one is called "Coffee." And it's the farthest thing from a Jeep. I've gone sporty instead of utilitarian. 

Maybe it's time to do the same with my writing. I turned in the last book in my Revolutionary Women trilogy, which will be released in January. When my publisher asked me what was next, I had no answer. Which translates to--it's a perfect time to stretch my creativity into something new. 

As Rachel Maddow says, "Watch this space." 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

What's In a Name?

 Like most authors, I spend a considerable amount of time thinking up names for my characters. In fact, the main character in my most recent book, A British Courtesan in America goes through several names in an attempt to mask her identity. Coming up with suitable names is one of the most fun parts of starting any story. 

But how about names when it comes to a car? I've never been the kind of person who assigns a pet name for my cars. I let the manufacturers do that. But my cars do seem to have an identity. When I was in my 20s and about to buy my first-ever car, I wanted to get a Jeep, which I viewed as a quintessential American car. My mother said I should get something a bit less masculine than a Wrangler and steered me to a Toyota. 

Years later, it came time to buy a new car, and I did what I always wanted. I bought a Jeep. Not a Wrangler, but a Liberty. It spoke volumes to me, and not just about how liberating it was to finally buy the make of car I'd always wanted. It was rugged, reliable, and strong, just as its name implied. I was sorry to have to get rid of it after thirteen years of service. 

I bought a newer and smaller Jeep this time. A Renegade. A friend of mine told me it was descriptive of my personality. I'd eschewed joining a sorority in college in favor of belonging to the Students for a Democratic Society. I write about the Sons of Liberty in my Revolutionary Women series, the bad boys of the Revolution. So a Renegade seems to have fit. However, unfortunately even a Renegade loses when it's hit by a semi-truck. 

So, I'm once again in the market for a new-to-me vehicle. The one that's caught my eye this time is a Patriot. Seems fitting, in these perilous political times. I'll let you know. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Karma Or Plot Twist?

 I try not to mix politics with my authorly correspondence, but the events of this week are the stuff of a good suspense novel and too good to pass up. The professional political correspondents are calling the influx of Covid among the Republican loyalists as karma, but we novelists are calling it a plot twist. 

A plot twist, by definition, is an "unexpected development in a novel." In politics, it's called an "October Surprise." However you define it doesn't really matter. It's what comes next that is intriguing. 

My author friends and I have spent the last few days coming up with all kinds of "what comes next scenarios." So far, we have about four different ways this could go. I'd love for all the Tom Clancy or James Patterson aficionados to weigh in and give me your ideas.