Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why This Name?

One of my sisters-in-law asked me, why did I use this title as my blog post?  She's a former librarian and thought I should change it.  "It needs an explanation," she said.  This first post will explain why.

In the early 90's, Douglas Adams was a guest speaker at the Book & Author Dinner given by our area booksellers and sponsors.  Adams's book is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which is based on a BBC radio serial.  His first remarks puzzled me.  And I roughly paraphrase, "Writers are always glad to say they have written so and so.  It's not the writing but the finishing that matters."  This struck me as odd.  Although I feel a certain pride in completing my first novel and getting it published, I'm experiencing sadness that I have to leave these beloved characters to begin anew.  Other authors have expressed the same emptiness for their fictional people as well.

Certainly, these characters are not real people, but they become so as they come alive on the page.  Many writers have said that during the creative process, the characters simply take over and write their parts themselves.  A non-writer may laugh at such balderdash, but I too have had my characters take over and write their stories.  After all, these characters know their stories better than I do.
It is particularly true since I incorporate "real" people in my stories.

In The Pearl Affair, my two investigators, John Jardine and Val (Valentine) Cederlof were actual Special Investigators for the Prosecutor's Office.  Their stories about how they wound up at the Prosecutor's Office are real.  The chief of HPD at this time didn't like either of these officers because they didn't "play the game."  When each of them messed up, Chief William Gabrielson took great pleasure in humiliating them.  Val Cederlof was the first to join the prosecutor's office, and he was instrumental in getting Jardine transferred to work with him.  As you can imagine, the chief was steamed.  He wanted to make an example of these two men who were both excellent detectives but not "yes men."  In the end, as you'll see, the chief gets his comeuppance.

As a student, I always wished the instructor would tell me more about the writer as well as about their writing.  When I taught high school, I researched the life of the writer and the time period in which he or she wrote.  If I found scandal, that was even better.  It made the writer a person.  Also, my students loved it.  It lightened the mood and sparked discussion.

When I started writing novels, using actual people in my stories seemed a natural transition.  The more I knew about them, the more plausible they would be.  "Havin' Writ" most of my manuscripts this way makes them more interesting to me.  I hope they make the story just as interesting for you.

As for a website, that will come later.  This writing business also has a business side that must be attended to.  In time, I will have all my ducks in a row.

What I do ask my readers is that, if I have made a mistake in historical fact or other story error, please let me know.  I will admit my blunder and apology here.  I am human and I do make mistakes.  If you enjoyed the story, I'd also like to know.

Write me at P. O. Box 2333, Tomball TX  77377-2333.  Use "Forever Stamps."  They're cheaper.

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