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Someone asked me if, as an author, I hear voices in my head. The answer is, of course. Although not audible voices, every character I write about speaks to me. Right now I’m reading two of my own books. I started a new series (The Bogey Mysteries) and now I’m ready to write another Sandi Webster mystery. I need to find my Sandi voice again.
What this means is that each character has its own personality, and its own habits. Fictional characters are just as individual as real people. Surprisingly, I’m enjoying the stories I’m rereading because I haven’t looked at them in so long. I read Prudy’s Back! and decided that it was my favorite of the series. Now I’m reading The Bogey Man, and I made myself laugh. That really surprised me. Maybe this one is my favorite. It’s kind of a toss-up.
So, back to the voices in my head. Sandi Webster tells me that she wants to be good at her job, and she’s not always happy when her naiveté gets in the way. She wants to be taken seriously. Her mother, Livvie Brewster, is menopausal and when she talks, I listen. No questions asked. Sandi’s elderly neighbor, Dolly Tempel, is a feisty little thing, but she’s gentle and doesn’t ask for much. And Pamela Cross just wants to enjoy life with her husband and son. When danger rears its ugly head, she wants to take everyone she loves and hide them in the closet. However, she’s a survivor, so she deals with life head on and worries about the consequences later.
It’s a bit different when the male characters come calling. They just don’t get the women in their lives. Peter Goldberg, an ex-cop and Sandi’s partner who’s used to being in charge, wants to protect Sandi. He can’t understand why she’s so adamant about being in control of her own life. Stanley Hawks is a meek and mild little man who works for Sandi and who hasn’t experienced much life, but he’s growing and learning. Chris Cross is a happy man. He looks just like Humphrey Bogart (which works for him), he’s married to a beautiful woman and has a son, and he’s doing what he enjoys. He runs a forties-themed restaurant and solves mysteries. He figures life couldn’t be much better. Mikey Cross is seven, and sometimes he has to speak a bit louder when talking to me. I’ve never had a son, and I don’t always understand what he wants to say or do.
The critters can be especially fun to listen to, but they can also be boring. Mostly they talk about eating, playing, pooping and sleeping. No surprise there, but every once in awhile they tell me they want to play a real part in the stories. Bubba, Sherlock and Watson can be pushy when they want to be, but they do enjoy watching out for their people. And I can’t forget Miss Kitty, Dolly’s cat with an attitude. She’s not too fond of Bubba, and she lets him know it -- often and with claws.
Writing about a bad guy or a victim is one of the hardest things to do. They speak to me and say things I’d rather not hear – ugly things. I’d rather watch the world through rose-colored glasses, and they won’t allow that. It’s simply not a rose-colored world, and they frequently remind me of the realities of life.So when you’re reading a book that you enjoy, and you look for another book in the series or by the same author, remember that you’re
reading about the voices they hear. Each of their characters is a voice to be reckoned with and listened to.
Do you hear voices in your head? Sometimes they’re just memories or wishes. Or maybe you should be writing a book. Think about it.
Until next time, wishing you a week of rose-colored experiences and peaceful voices.
I write a weekly blog on my website, and you can access it at www.marjamcgraw.com. I'd love to have you visit.