Writing Diversity

February 28th. 2017

One of the challenges I face in re-creating a city from 1942 is trying to be true to the era without being disrespectful to diversity. The Big Inch pipeline was built during a time when immigrants were flooding into East Texas in droves (jobs, oil-related business opportunities, easy money from gambling, etc.) The Texas city that this story centers around, Longview, dates back to a post-Civil War era and the city fathers/mothers built monuments to Confederate war heroes. Those attitudes hadn’t dissipated much by 1942. With my 21-st century mindset altered from those who fought the Civil War for States Rights (and a lot of those rights included slavery) it’s a bit off-putting to write historical characters of color (african and middle-eastern) and be authentic to the sensibilities entrenched in 1942. Particularly, as I feel different about people of color (all colors) than these predecessors. So, how to do this and not re-write a time or culture? It was hard. I can’t promise I got this right, either. But I did put thought into not repeating traditional, Southern stereotypes. As a daughter of the south, I’m well aware of where the lines were drawn, what I had no experience to speak of, was what was life like on the other side of the line.

I’d asked friends of color to talk to me about this 1940s culture, but most said they didn’t know or they weren’t from here. I think they know, they just didn’t want to talk about it. So I took what I knew, and I put myself in shoes that didn’t fit. I tried to walk a mile or so through my mental re-creations of Longview and I tried to imagine what it would have been like for folks who were seemingly invisible to the majority. I believe that regardless of the color of a person’s skin, there’s still character, dignity, and grit. I used that as a leaping off point. I’ll know how that translates when I hear what readers think.

Playlist for Characters

February 25th. 2017

Though I wasn’t smart enough to figure this out at the beginning of my novel crafting life, writing scenes to specific music has given an intuition to my character’s actions and comments–a zest that was missing before. It helped to sit down one afternoon and think through what style of music–and why–would appeal to the people coming to life on my pages. Some ┬ácharacters love music, love to dance, and can’t hear a tune without tapping their fingers. Other don’t even acknowledge that they recognize a particular singer or group. Much like personality profiles help to craft a character, music has a role to play too. Plus, it’s fun learning this aspect of a character and using that knowledge to make the story more authentic.

Blown Away by Readers

February 20th. 2017

I’ve experienced the crazy, big sensation of having readers of The Big Inch call me, text, email and tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the book. It’s a dream come true to have conversations with people about the story and that they use words like “page-turner” “can put it down” and “how fast can I write the sequel?” It was such a risk to release a novel and embrace that fear of failure that is just a breath away, but this gift of affirmation is one that I hope to never forget. Thanks, readers. You mean the world to me.

Celebrating!

February 1st. 2017

Tossing a bit of confetti over here as the web team at Key Creative revealed my new and improved website–most notably for the easy options for buying The Big Inch novel and connecting through social media outlets. It’s awesome to work with talented people who do their jobs so well.