First of all, I’d like to thank Diane for having me as a guest today on her blog. It’s so nice to be here!
A few weeks ago, in a blog that I contribute to (Heroines With Hearts), I wrote about how my characters are works of fiction, rather than people from my life. And it’s true, they are. But as I was reflecting on that post, I realized that although my books are not real life, they offer me a chance to imagine a world as I’d like it to be.
It might not even be as lofty as an entire world. It might just be a chance to use that one comeback line that I wish I’d used on that really nasty person in Bloomingdales. In fact, my daughter was talking to me the other day about how she had a comeback she’d wanted to say to a boy in her class who was teasing her, but she wasn’t sure if it would work. I asked her what it was, she told me, and I started laughing. Not only was it a great line (sorry, but my daughter talks a lot and the specific line escapes me right now), but she’s just like me. I can never think of those witty retorts at the time. They always come to me later, after the person has walked away, the moment has passed, and I’m all alone. That’s one of the reasons why I like email so much; I can tease people on my own time.
Sometimes, I’ll write a scene that is my wish for how something could have turned out. Ever have an argument with someone and afterwards say to yourself, man, that could have gone so much better if I’d only done this or said that? My writing gives me the opportunity to relive that experience. No, it will never be the exact same situation—I’m not putting a fight with my husband down on paper. But I can use my own experience to create an opportunity for my characters to live out my lessons. Then again, if I have a character that is supposed to be unhappy, perhaps I want the argument to go the other way. Maybe I need that character to fail initially in order to ultimately give them a happy ending.
In my upcoming book, Skin Deep, both characters have had very difficult pasts. During the course of the story, they face those pasts and work through their issues—honestly, I’m not giving away any spoilers; it’s a romance; they HAVE to live happily ever after! Writing the book and helping my characters overcome their fears gave me a chance to work out my own, very minor (especially in comparison) issues. It gave me the chance to use that comeback I wish I’d used; offer comfort that I’d wished I’d given; create a world that makes sense, when oftentimes the real world doesn’t. It can be cathartic, it can be fun and it can give me the chance to let my characters life the kind of experience I might wish to if I were braver, funnier or just plain different than who I am in real life.
I hope, when people read my books, that one of the things they like about my characters is their banter. It’s so much fun to write and hopefully, I’ve gotten the rhythm, timing and wording right so that it comes across on paper as well as it does in my head. In a perfect world, I’d like to think that I’m that witty—I wish! However, in reality, I’m probably not. I’m a wife and mom and am too busy and too tired be as funny in person as I might be in my head, sitting at my computer with that big “delete” button in front of me. I can rework and rewrite as many times as I want to get it just right. In real life, the words come out of my mouth and they’re gone.
That’s why it’s so much fun to retreat to the world of my books, to go inside my head and discover the characters lurking there. I get to create the world of my choosing, the people to populate it and the outcomes I need. I hope you enjoy it!
SKIN DEEP BLURB:
The last thing Valerie needs, after escaping an abusive marriage to an alcoholic and rebuilding her life, is a broody, secretive, standoffish man. But that’s exactly what she gets when she becomes a makeup artist on the set of a hit sitcom and draws the attention of the series’ star.
John Samuels hides a terrible past—a life of abuse and neglect. A successful acting career and the affection and support of cast, crew and friends, does nothing to convince him that he is anything other than an unlovable monster.
Will he learn that the life he’s been living has been built on a lie or will he be doomed to repeat the sins of his father?
The square, plastic bottle crashed to the floor, the white cap skittered under a cabinet, and bisque-colored foundation splattered across the tile floor, where it made a Rorschach pattern within the large white squares. With a groan and a roll of her eyes, Valerie searched under the makeup table, found the errant cap, replaced it on the bottle, and returned the foundation to the tray. She grabbed a damp rag and wiped up the mess.
She looked at the shooting schedule and smiled as she ran her fingers down the smooth laminated page. Only three weeks into this job, she loved working as assistant make-up artist on “Oddballs,” a Top-10 weekly TV sitcom. She double-checked her kit for the supplies she’d need that day. So engrossed in her work, she didn’t notice her boss’ purple-spiked head in the door of the make-up trailer, or the ever-present smell of hair gel that hovered around her, until Michelle called her name.
“Hey, Valerie, a bunch of us are going out after work. Wanna come?”
Flashes from her past competed with images from the present at the sudden voice and Valerie stiffened. She shook her head to clear the jumble of images.
“Where are you going?” She wiped the remains of the foundation on the short cotton apron over her turquoise shirt and faded denim jeans. Eyes closed, she inhaled. The thick weave of rough fabric scraped her fingers and anchored her in the present, despite her body’s momentary lapse.
Tico’s for some drinks. There’s about eight of us going. It’ll be fun and you can meet some of the crew.”
Valerie’s hands shook and knocked into the plastic bottles on the tray. They clinked together as the tubes slid into the scissors and destroyed their recent orderliness. She kept her face down, eyes averted, as her cheeks heated and her palms became sweaty. She had dreaded this moment. If they’d been going anywhere but a bar, she’d have joined them, but she couldn’t bring herself to go there. So, she had to perform a delicate bal-acing act. Somehow, she had to refuse this invitation, but leave open the possibility for others. Despite their different personal styles, she and Michelle had formed an instant bond. The last thing she wanted was to hurt their new friendship.
“I can’t tonight. Thanks for asking though. Maybe another time.” She took a deep breath and pasted on a smile.
“Hot date?” Michelle raised a perfectly plucked black eyebrow and grinned.
Valerie grinned back. “Just with my laundry.”
“You’re turning me down for laundry? Come on, you can do that tomorrow.”
Valerie shook her head. “I really can’t tonight, Michelle. Next time.”
Michelle muttered under her breath as she left. Valerie sighed as the door banged shut and left her alone with her memories.
GIVEAWAY: Be sure to leave a comment with your email address. The winner will get a copy of Jennifer’s new release, SKIN DEEP!
Fried Oreos Blog: www.jenniferwilck.wordpress.com
Heroines With Hearts Blog (I’m a contributor): www.heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com
Where to buy my books: Whiskey Creek Press: http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com
Also available on Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com