At 4:30 in the morning, when my house is quiet and dark, I write novels. To date, I have seven of them, all in manuscript form and all in various states of metamorphosis from an idea (a creeping caterpillar) to a submission package (a basking butterfly).
Each story of mine falls under the genre of “adult contemporary fiction” with some crossovers into women’s fiction, mystery/thriller, courtroom dramas, and romance. My stories are for grown-ups who like to read about loyalty and its inevitable betrayal.
But here is how my stories perhaps differ from other novelists’:
Although each story is a stand-alone novel, the main character in MS #1 is a secondary character in MS #2. The main character in MS #6 owns to coffee shop where the main characters in MSs #4 and #5 get their gourmet scones. The main character in MS #2 is a secondary character in MSs #3 and #5.
You get the point.
#TheLedburyChronicles (find storyboard pics on Instagram) are set in a big fictional place with characters that float in and out of one another lives. As “place-centric” stories, they all eat at the same Chinese restaurant, drive past the same post office, and breathe the same air. They’re share the same very small world stepping on each other’s toes while professing their alliances to each other and/or stabbing each other in the back.
(You know, sort of like life in a small town.)
My characters, thanks to their complex backgrounds, are infinitely flawed and often broken. Some falsely see their addictions as loyalties. Whether to a job, a forbidden lover, a friend, a cause, a vendetta, a spouse, or the truth, the people who walk across my pages are blessed and cursed by their perceptions and biases.
(You know, sort of like real people.)
In each exploration of loyalty and betrayal, I give my characters a chance at redemption. They don’t always capitalize on those opportunities, instead choosing to self-flagellation over absolution. Stuck in their ways, their inability to change can be their undoing.
(You know, sort of like life.)
Here are what my 10-year-old might call “Fun Facts” about me:
Top Two Books:
Candide by Voltaire, for when I need comic relief and Lolita by Nabokov, for when I need a reminder of what excellence in writing reads like.
American Beauty. (Disclosure: I’ve not watched it since #MeToo. I might never watch it again. Damn you, Kevin Spacey.)
Favorite TV Show:
Our family doesn’t own a TV. We got rid of it when I discovered that it was getting in the way of late-night talks with my spouse.
Hot and black.
Favorite Adult Beverage:
It had been gin on ice, years ago.
That 10 year old ^^^^^
THE OLIVIA EXPRESS tells the story of Dr. Calista Bardone, a pet therapist who in the wake of her only friend relocating to the other side of the country, finds herself adopting a second persona in order to pursue relationships that she couldn’t have as “Callie.” Under the stoic, though snarky supervision of her dog, Steinem, Callie takes risks that could lead to her undoing both professionally and with her very best friend. When circumstances begin to devolve, Callie needs to come to terms with who she really is and how to untangle the ties she made as Olivia.
I shy away from competing with other writers. My success (or theirs) does not equal their failure (or mine). And yet, there is some sense of that dichotomy when wide-eyed, aspiring authors enter their pages in the hopes of getting selected.
Last year, I entered #RevPit. I didn’t get picked to rework my MS with one of the volunteer editors. But that made sense for all sorts of reasons. Even in the short time that I was able to ask questions an get feedback, I learned so much. Every moment spent on #RevPit was worthwhile. So were I to choose not to enter, I know there is much to learn from the wonderful editors and my fellow writers.
Frankly, there simply isn’t anything better then people with skills, i.e., the editors, helping out people with dreams, i.e., me and my “competition.” And we can all learn about each other with this #RevPit #BioHop, which is super cool.
There are very few contests that are both competitive and kind. #RevPit is both.