What does my new GPS have to do with my 1999 title Grave Secrets? Lately I’ve been reading all the books on the Red Maple list so that when I meet the authors May 15th, I will know a little about them, perhaps their voice if nothing else. So far I’ve read The Tiffin (Mahtab Narsimman) Testify (Valerie Sherrard) The Town that Drowned ( Riel Nasson), This Dark Endeavour (Kenneth Oppel) and most recently The Vampire Stalker (Allison Van Diepen)
In The Vampire Stalker, the characters of a book step into a reader’s real world and I noticed in some of the reviews that many of Allison’s fans love this concept and have imagined it themselves. I thought “Not me! I like to keep my characters on some other plane of existence”. And then I thought about it awhile and realize how they do kind of seep into my real life.
There is a real dog named after Beauty from my Bringing Up Beauty series for example and she sent me a Christmas card one. I also have a candle holder wreath made up of black Labs with Santa hats. A boy named Tom was killed by a car in front of MM Robinson and somehow I knew it was my character Scott. My research often involves integrating snippits of real people into my story actors. Somehow Tom had been some part of my character.
The other day, in replacing my stolen GPS Princess Leya, my husband downloaded some voices for me to choose from. The Hungarian grandmother really grabbed me. Perhaps because as a kid, all of my friends’ parents were of eastern European descent. And then it hit me when I named her. She would be Mrs. Dobroski, the Hungarian sticklady from Grave Secrets In the book she said about her oriental rug: “Be careful. Step only on the red parts. The white parts are so difficult to clean”.
My GPS says: “Listen to me. Why don’t you stay in the right lane? Then you will go onto the highway. But please, don’t drive too fast. It makes me nervous.”
None of my characters, to date, have required a place to stay or money from me, thank heavens. But I know I have written series so that I could revisit them and sometimes I’ll daydream about them and wonder how they’ve grown up and what they’re doing on their own separate plane. I think Elizabeth from my Beauty series travels the world to rescue people with a search dog for example. Don’t know if she’ll ever get married and have children though. She will always miss Kyle…
At least for now, one old character Mrs. Dobroski will lead me in new directions.