Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My characters...my friends...but are they me?


Do your characters resemble you?
There’s probably not an author out there who hasn’t heard, “So, how much of you is in this/that character?” I expect the standard answer is an enigmatic dropping of the eyes or turning of the head or perhaps a simple shrug. I mean, come on, how many of us are going to admit we’ve bared our hidden souls in a particular character? Not I, said the fly!
But if we told the truth--if we didn’t deflect such questions or even outright lie--we’d have to admit our characters is who we are--or who we were--or who we’d like to be.
Jean and Nick,
The Showboat Affair
Do my characters resemble me?
To be (partially) truthful…in The Showboat Affair (written as Gwyneth
Greer), perhaps I dreamed of starting over like Jean Kingston. Widowed early, I never remarried nor really entertained too many thoughts of doing so because I had children to raise. Now, of course, firmly settled into aging, I definitely don’t want anything of the two-legged (or four-legged) variety in my tidy empty nest!

Fascinated with the eras of The Great Depression and World War II (in which I was born), I would have reveled in being Celeste (Dancing with Velvet) or Ruthann (Ruthann’s War). Living their struggles, their
Penelope Pembroke
dreams, even their realities would’ve been very satisfying.
And, of course, we can’t forget Penelope Pembroke (The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series--boxed set or sold separately) because, in truth, I actually wanted to be a lady detective. It must’ve been around the fifth grade when I received a handy-dandy detective kit for Christmas and decided there were mysteries everywhere. Wearing a tam and carrying a purse as well as the tools of my trace (fingerprint powder, tape, and a spy glass), I trotted off to school with a sense of purpose to do more than just get my lessons--I wanted to get the bad guy, too!

You’ll find bits and pieces of me in my short stories, too. Visit “I’ll Tell You a Story” at my website for a new free read every month, or check out Off the Shelf in which, if you look hard enough, you’ll definitely find me in some of the stories and all of the interspersed poems. (But shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!)

And in summation...
Writing has always been something I’ve done for fun and, later on, for a little profit. But it’s also become, as I’ve entered the final chapters of my life, cathartic, a legacy to leave behind for anyone to whom it matters.

Like any other hobby, avocation, or true vocation, writing has its ups and downs, but it should be, first and foremast, a joy at least 95% of the time--or, perhaps, we should be doing something else!

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