THE PEOPLE YOU MEET
What would you say is the single thing that makes life most interesting?
Okay, I agree, this is a level one-oh-one question. The answer’s obvious: People, naturally. People you meet in real life and people you meet in fiction. And as a writer, you know they’re not the separate entities they seem at first mention. For isn’t it true that every created character has been inspired by an actual person?
The protagonist in my Listed and Lethal Series, for example, real estate agent Honey Ingersoll, is patterned after not one but several real life women: A gorgeous natural blonde I envied all through high school who, like Honey, never cracked a book but had so much going for her, it didn’t matter. Then there was the outstanding student I once taught who worked nights so she could go to class days. It was a tough slog, but “nevertheless, she persisted.” Honey doesn’t strive for a college degree; she doesn’t even have a library card. But she sure knows the meaning of persistence. And I remember an elderly lady who once said, “I wish I sounded smarter when I talked.” Like Honey, she was bright as a diamond but didn’t realize it. The list could go on, but I know you’ve had much the same experience each time you struggle to create a memorable person.
Anyway, taking all this stuff, the looks, the struggles, the regrets, the perseverance, the chutzpah of gals I once knew, I mixed them together, squeezed them like modeling clay and ended up with Honey Ingersoll:
After Momma died, I left my daddy’s double-wide and rode into
the back of Billy Tubbs’ Harley. After Billy gave me a black eye just because
he could, I walked right out and took a job with Saxby Winthrop, the town’s
biggest Realtor. I learned a lot under Saxby, including a lot about the real
estate business. I even learned to lower my skirt hems and my big hair, and to
ditch my tube tops and cherry-flavored gum. According to Sheriff Matt Rameros, what I’m
doing is reinventing myself and that while it’s fun to watch, he doesn’t think
I should change a bit. Now isn’t that the sweetest thing y’all ever heard tell
of? I mean, isn’t that simply lovely of him? Eureka
While I never knew a Honey Ingersoll before I sat down to write, I know her well now, and she’s great company--witty, honest, full of common sense yet always ready to face a challenge. No doubt if I was ever marooned on a desert island with no people around, I’d go nuts. Unless a notepad and a pen washed up on shore. How about you? Do you also find people, both on paper and otherwise, endlessly fascinating?