Like many of us, I was a shy kid. It was hard for me to make friends.
I know now—I was just an introvert trying to build one-to-one relationships in a world of group settings.
We didn’t talk about “feelings” in my family, so I had to figure my own way around it. One day I realized that if I changed my perspective, I could be much more comfortable in crowds.
So . . . I became an observer.
I began watching and listening, trying to find my place in the world as I attempted to understand why people did what they did.
The truth is: Sometimes human behavior still catches me completely off guard. I ask myself “Why did they do that?” on a regular basis—only I don’t just ask the question. I literally try to puzzle out an answer.
Say a friend comes to me. They’re irritated because so-and-so did such-and-such—again.
My reaction: “Hmmm. I can think of a few reasons why so-and-so might do such-and-such. Have you ever met their family? What kind of job do they have? They seem really kind. Do you think they’re deliberately trying to upset you? And why? I once knew someone who did such-and-such because of blah-diddy-blah.”
I’m sure my reaction is sometimes annoying to my friends and family, but nobody ever calls me out on it. I suppose they think I’m working on character personalities.
For example, Symphony Weber is growing up in a family where she feels like an outsider. She has a gift that keeps her from fitting in with the kids at school, so she finds a way to get rid of the gift so she can feel normal. Does losing her gift have the desired result? You’ll have to read Symphony of Dreams to find out.
Throughout Pinky Harper’s childhood, her schizophrenic father won’t stay on his meds. When her mother has had enough, she throws Dad out, and Pinky leaves her last semester of college to come home and look out for him. In Switch, we find Pinky in a situation where it’s imperative that she believe her dad, but she can’t. She’s convinced he’s gone off his meds again—that he’s hallucinating.
Sister Minnie Chance lost her mother in childhood. Her father was a major league baseball pitcher who injured his shoulder and was forced to retire at the height of his career. After that, he began to drink. Minnie joined a convent shortly after high school. Fifteen years later, in Dangerous Habit, she begins to question that important decision after someone tries to kill her on her way home one night.
All my characters have issues, just like we do.
They have to find ways of coping.
Sometimes they make bad decisions.
Sometimes they hurt.
Sometimes they triumph, just like the rest of us.
I love being able to make the best thing happen. Even if it’s just part of a story.
And that is one of the reasons I keep writing.
Please keep reading.