Co-worker: "You talk like your characters are real."
Me: "They are."
What would Karen/Amy/Cici do. Or, in more contemporary terms, who would they vote for in the presidential race.
Pat and I have had this conversation. Seriously. The question came up as we were talking through plot lines for "Karen 3."
None of them are really mine.
My first novel, born in naivete and nurtured through hours of earnest inexperience, featured Flatiron Valley police sergeant Amy Painter. I wanted her to wrestle with a variety of challenges - danger, death and the awful dilemma of options. Several good friends helped me mold her into 3D. She occupied hours of discussion with Pat, often during long beach walks or plane rides.
The "finished manuscript" in hand, I headed for Kinkos, to get copies printed for friends who would read my first attempt at publication. Getting out of the car proved a challenge, the emotions were so strong. Amy would no longer be mine.
She would belong to readers. They would have opinions - some good, some not - about who she is, what she cares about and whether she made the case for women in law enforcement. Some of the input would sting. But... Writers write, said William Forrester, so readers can read.
Karen Sorenson sprang to life at an airshow. The words poured out - lonely, emotionally abused and longing for someone to love, she set that all aside to solve a murder. The manuscript was enormous, unwieldy and a hot mess.
Two writer friends helped me trim it down.
But, writing for publication is a business. I took Karen to the home of a woman fleeing from an unacceptable past. The story concluded after a mere nine thousand words, but it got the attention of Marci Baun at Wild Child. We were off and running.
Cici. She started as a plot line, one dimensional. Drones, death and martial law. The story virtually wrote itself, but my main character had no depth. She wasn't real. Enter a coworker who would become a friend. And Cici took on a real personality.
So who would they vote for?
That's up to you, my loyal readers.