First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 13

Recently at a book event I was asked (and it’s not the first time) if there is some part of me in each of the main characters I write about.  Yes, I think this is the case for all writers.  Maybe this is a bit of that “write what you know,” that gets tossed around – although I’ve heard a spin on this recently – write what you don’t know. (I’m good with that – hello, cotton farming)

What I know is I’m stubborn as the day is long. (I really like the word tenacious better.) If I say I’m going to do something, like “I’m going to run a marathon!” Well, I’m bound and determined that’s going to happen – no matter what. Some of you recently discovered what this meant when I decided to play Two Truths and a Lie over on Reader’s Coffeehouse on Facebook.  One of the truths was I ran a marathon on a broken leg, and yes, this could also be called dumb, I realize, but I had trained and trained (likely what cause those two stress fractures), so I was gonna run that race!

In each of my characters, from Dixie Dupree, to Wallis Ann Stamper, to Sonny Creech, they all have that tenacity, determination and drive.

As a writer I also consider particular personality traits, habits, or mannerisms, etc. and this doesn’t necessarily have to do with me. For instance, when I thought about Frank Fowler, I remembered a friend of my Dad’s who exhibited some of the mannerisms I used. I think about the situation I’m writing and how I might react, show discomfort, or embarrassment. Sometimes it has to be pure fiction, because let’s face it, I put characters into places and predicaments I’ve never been in, and no one I know has been in. This is also where reality and common sense come in because it has to be believable, right?

In THE FORGIVING KIND, Sonny is, among many other things, a natural born worrier (like me!). She worries about her mama, her brothers, a lot about Daniel, and obsessively so about Mr. Fowler. She keeps an eye on things around the farm, and with regard to her family, and her friend. It goes against her grain when she has no control over a situation. To that end, she’s watchful, and careful, but she’s also only twelve. Sometimes, there’s only so much she can do, but observe and allow her gut instincts to lead her to answers.

Chapter 13

Mama was at the sink, and while she washed, I dried and kept a lookout from the window.


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