Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hanging With Heroes

What’s the best part about writing? Creating new worlds? Plotting twists and turns? Summoning my inner ee cummings? Playing God with a cast of characters of my own creation? Getting to stay at home in my jammies while the rest of the world scurries around me with to-do-lists? Yes, yes, yes and sometimes. But for me, the very best part of writing is hanging with my heroes.
I know. Embarrassing to hear from a (young) grandma. But I find that for me a story really doesn’t find its legs (or chest or whatever) until I have sufficiently fallen for my hero. Hard. It’s not always easy. I first introduced the bad boyfriend, Drake, in The Rhyme’s Library years before I decided to make him the hero of Losing Penny. Since when I started Losing Penny, Drake, Blair, Aunt Charlotte and the rest where residing in a dark desk drawer, I had to resurrect them and help Drake clean up his act…a little. My daughter, who read the books in the order they were published, rather than in the order they were originally written, admitted that it was hard for her to like Drake at first. Which is what I intended. I didn’t want him to be the Hollywood hero cliché. And he’s not. But I still love him.
Romance writers in my writing group complain that my heroes are too real. They bake bread, cut hair, and raise vegetables. They like children and play with dogs. They’re witty…they have to be witty.
Who are your favorite heroes? Gregory Peck as Atticus Fitch? Clark Gable as Rhett Butler? Cary Grant in North by Northwest? So many men…I have to fall in love with my heroes. Because that’s the very best part of being a writer.

I just noticed something. All of these heroes have my husband's coloring, height and build. Go figure. Since all of these movies were made before I was born, then it stands to reason that I loved these men even before I met my husband. How sad for my family if I had fallen for a beach blond surfer dude. But I don't think that would have happened. I think I knew from the very beginning, even as a young girl watching old movies, that I knew exactly what I was looking for.

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