Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Crossover Moments


One day I found myself on a stool at a harbor-side pub in Maine. The young female bartender approached me and graciously asked what I wanted. Behind her were a bevy of ornate tap handles, and taking a quick stock of the selection, I put on a ridiculous smile that probably had her suspecting this was not my first bar,  and I said, “I’ll have a bottle of Allagash, please.”

With my eccentric smile never wavering, I sat there and people-watched, drinking what I thought was the best beer ever brewed.

I was experiencing what I like to call a crossover moment. This was a scene from my book. The seaside pub. The bottle of Allagash. As authors, we may visit a place, or do something that is pivotal enough to warrant putting it into one of our books. But how often does one re-live an excerpt from a book after it has been written? It might be simple enough to purposely re-enact a scene, but have you ever looked around, and it suddenly occurs to you that you are smack in the middle of one your favorite passages?

Maybe you’re sitting on a train that has just pulled out of King's Cross Station and someone hands you a vomit-flavored jellybean, and you think, “Wow, I know this has happened before in a famous book…I just can’t place the name...”

Crossover moments are literary acts of déjà-vu. They could be as simple as a character quote that you didn’t expect to slip from your lips or as complex as only your imagination and knowledge can interpret them.

I once sat on the steps of the courthouse that hosted the Crime of the Century.  I looked across the street at the Union Hotel which has changed very little since all the journalists were on site to document the Lindbergh trial. I could take that setting verbatim, or I could look closer and actually see those reporters standing on the hotel deck, talking and taking notes, waiting for news from the courthouse and experience a crossover moment.

Crossover moments happen to authors and readers alike. Can you think of any that have happened to you?


P.S. Congratulations to our own Wynter Daniels for her release of Protective Custody this week, and likewise for next week's release of Marcelle Dubé's Shoeless Kid, and ummm...who else has a release next week? Oh! Me, with Endless Night.  

10 comments:

Wynter Daniels said...

I hope to never get one of those vomit-flavored jellybeans or any of the other nasty flavors!
I had a crossover moment of sorts when I was a kid and we went to Rome. I stood on the steps of the old Roman senate and could practically hear Brutus says "Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ears."
Thanks for the shout-out;-) Can't wait for Endless Night and The Shoeless Kid next week!

Toni Anderson said...

I've had a few crossover moments. My whole Labrador experience felt like I was in my own movie.

Whenever I saw the Forth Rail Bridge in Fife I was transported back to the 39 STEPS, and when I lived in Stirling everywhere I looked made me think 'BRAVEHEART'. London--well, 'hello', The Tower of London? The Thames? A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS and JAMES BOND.
I guess my life is full of crossover moments because I use so much of my real life in my stories. In my first book, HER SANCTUARY, I used a lot of my own riding experiences :) Ouch. The list goes on and on--good post M!!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Cool post, Maureen. And congratulations to you, too, for the release of Endless Night! Jennifer Green is our release mate next week; she's releasing Sweets to the Sweet.

MaureenAMiller said...

@Wynter - Italy is our 'dream trip'. I would like to have a crossover moment that might involve Russell Crowe. :)

@Toni - London is one of my favorite places, and you're right. There's not far to look to visit some of our favorite literary scenes.

@Marcelle - No disrespect to Jennifer. She gets a hearty shout out from me on the Carina blog. I just happened to list the new NYUS releases. :)

Shirley Wells said...

Great post, Maureen!

I have lots of crossover moments as all sorts of things (not just the pets) from my real life end up in my stories. Not, I hasten to add, that I've met many murderers. ;)

Josh Lanyon said...

Congratulations on the new releases! Many sales to you all.

MaureenAMiller said...

@Shirley - Yes! Animals definitely bring on crossover moments. I was just vacationing at the lake Dirty Dancing was filmed and I was going to try a crossover moment with the other-half holding me up in the air. I think I made it as high as his toes.

@Josh - Thank you so much, sir. You're the best! (Of course now I have that Karate Kid song stuck in my head. "You're the best...around") I digress. :)

Rita said...

No I don't think I've experienced any cross over moments. They are some sex scenes I've written I wouldn't mind crossing over to.

MaureenAMiller said...

Now you're talking, Rita. Funny, I haven't experienced those either. But they call it fiction for a reason. :)

Kathy Ivan said...

I agree, I don't wany any vomit-flavored jellybeans. Eww!!!

I haven't really found myself having any crossover moments with my books, at least not yet.

Great blog.