Anyone who’s known me for a long time is aware I’m actually very shy. Ask me about myself and I sort of stare at the floor. I’m not trying to be difficult, but I can’t imagine anyone wants to know about me.
Ask me about my critters and I’ll talk your ear off. Ask me about my books and your other ear will follow ear number one. And you’ll be running for the hills.
I think it also has to do with something that happened in 1983 when I was still a newly published author with my third book just out. I was at a very large group signing and met an author who I’d enjoyed for some years. I was so excited to have a chance to meet her and tried to do my best not to gush. The minute the woman learned I wrote category romance I was suddenly relegated to the lowest of the low. She was so rude to me that I couldn’t believe anyone would act like that. I didn’t read her books after that. That could be why I feel better when my books speak for me.
Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child that my characters have always been real to me. I see them in 3-D inside my head and there are times when I’m positive Fluff and Puff the magick bunny slippers are roaming the house, Irma’s taken over the passenger seat in my SUV, or Maggie’s on duty if I’m running errands after dark. Who knows, maybe Lili’s around when I’m sick and Cleo’s crooning the Soft Kitty song.
Whether writing or reading, the characters are important to me. They are what rounds out the story.
I can sit here and talk about Lili, how she came about in my head (you have to admit it’s kind of funny to have a witch doctor heroine), what kind of man will enter her life, and what creature will be her sidekick.
Lili made her first appearance in 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover as wallmail correspondence between her and Jazz. I wasn’t entirely sure when her book would appear in the series. I have a file with notes, ideas of her story, and creature thoughts.
I also knew it meant deciding what historical facts I’d weave into the book. One I won’t mention since it has to do with the plot and one of the characters.
Creating an asylum as dark and disgusting as I did was actually easy. A movie I’ve watched more than once is Bedlam, starring Boris Karloff. A ‘hospital’ housing the mentally ill in ways no one would want to comprehend. A Demon Does It Better was the perfect background for an asylum and easy to create a demon hero who was literally branded a homicidal maniac. Especially, when you consider the hospital was ultra-modern and the dungeon was still back in the 1700s. Although there is the hospital greeter, a vulture perched over the hospital doorway announcing everyone will die. Yes, he’s a bit of sunshine.
Cleo was easy since I wanted a diva kitty and giving her Cleopatra’s heritage made it fun.
A Demon Does It Better is special for two very good reasons. It’s dedicated to my mom who passed away last fall and to a wonderful friend, Beverly Barton, who I also miss every day.
This is what I can talk about. Characters, families and friends who all seem to be intertwined.
What does it mean to you? Would you prefer knowing everything about the author (although please don’t ask my weight or how I lost my virginity! No joke. Someone did ask me that once!) or about the books themselves?