Originally Published at www.girlfriendsbookclub.org
This is my first blog on the Girlfriends Book Club! I’m excited to be on the same “team” with so many fun authors, and hopefully they’ll think I’m a good addition to the blog.
I’ll start with a little bit about me. I write what I call women’s action-adventure. It’s a good amount of mystery, a little bit of romance, a lot feminist, and of course, totally incomplete without action and adventure. Did you ever see an action movie and think, “Why does the girl scream a lot and then fall down?” Well, if I made movies, they’d be a lot shorter. Scary man in a mask, calling from inside the house? Bam. Yes, officer, I appear to have shot a deranged psycho hiding in my attic, please send a coroner. The End. None of this waiting for the hunky hero to come save the girl; my heroines save themselves, and possibly the hunky hero too.
My first two books Bulletproof Mascara and Compact with the Devil form the basis for my Carrie Mae Mystery series. (Coming in 2015 – High Caliber Concealer!) They feature Nikki Lanier a twenty-something red-head who, in desperation, decides to sell make-up to make some cash, only to discover that the at home make-up sales giant Carrie Mae is also running a clandestine militant wing staffed by all women with the lofty goal of helping women everywhere.
If you just laughed while reading that, then you’ll know exactly what my friends did when I told them the idea. (They also promptly made up the Carrie Mae salute – chest thump into a mascara flip.) But I knew that I could write that book and that I could make it work. I knew that it would be funny, feminine, and feminist, and I could choreograph some awesome fight scenes.
I’ve written other things, and there have been books that I intended to write because they sounded like a good idea, but when I find the book that I have to write… have you ever heard the sound a metal pan makes when you take it off the burner and it starts to cool down? That little tiny ting? That’s what I hear when my brain produces a freshly baked perfect novel premise. And that’s what I heard the day I realized that at home make-up sales were an incredibly cut-throat business.
So hopefully you’ll join me as I search for the next tiny little auditory hallucination that tells me it’s time to sit down at a computer and make some stuff up.
I was staring at an app advertisement on my phone the other day when a brilliant idea for a novel came to me. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because it’s awesome and I don’t want the net gremlins to steal it. But as I pondered the awesomeness that was my own idea, and then shining beacon of sheer stunning gloriferousness that is my brain (Yeah, I just made that word up. What are you going to do about it?), it occurred to me to wonder – what would happen to me if I didn’t have my brain?
And ok, yeah, obviously, dead. Plop. But what about if I had someone else’s brain? We all look at the world from the unique transponder of our brains. We see the world differently, if only by a hair, than the person sitting next to us.
For example, I have a friend who is somewhere around seven feet tall. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s his actual height. We met in college and we had several classes, including life drawing, together. (Life drawing, for those who haven’t been to art school, is code for “drawing naked people.”) For one semester our life drawing instructor was a curly haired, 5’2” dreamer who once suggested that zoning out while driving on the freeway was a good place to get creative ideas. (We don’t have time to really go into that statement.) Anyway, at some point, she went around to my friend’s drawing board and suggested that his perspective was wrong. He checked, he double checked, he thought about it, and then politely suggested that he really did have it right. She stared up at him, she stared at the model. Then she drug a chair over next to him and climbed up on it. “Oh, nope, you’re right.” Your perspective is just different when you’re an extra two feet up in the air.
Two feet and an entire picture changes. If I had someone else’s brain, surely the ideas I have for writing books would be totally different. If I had them at all. But since I love my ideas, I love my brain, I don’t think I’ll be heading to Dr. Frankenstein’s lab to test out that experiment. But go ahead and thank your brain today, because it’s awesome.
The other night I dreamed that fellow Stiletto Gang author Linda Rodriguez rewrote the back-story on the main character of my Carrie Mae Mystery series – Nikk Lanier. Nikki is a twenty-something red-headed linguistics major turned superspy with an overbearing mother and a steady boyfriend who works for the CIA. Notice how none of that background involves a whirlwind marriage and divorce from a blonde lawyer and the adoption of an African orphan? But by the time my dream Linda was done that’s what Nikki had. And in my dream, I kept thinking, “Maybe I could make the divorce work, but what am I supposed to do with a baby? I can’t just send it back!” And then I woke up in a cold editorial sweat trying to figure out I was going to jam all these changes into Nikki’s next adventure that I’m 30,000 words into with no place to add in a spare baby.
What I love is that in my dream, never once did I question why Linda was rewriting Nikki’s backstory, and it certainly never occurred to me that I could just reject the edits. Nope, once Linda wrote it down, it was set in stone. Never mind that Linda and I have never actually met in person or done any writing together what-so-ever. In my dream, the changes were done and that was that. The other odd thing about my dream was the very real dual reality of Nikki’s reality. Linda may have written it, but I couldn’t send the baby back to the orphanage because Nikki would be upset, and what would her friends think?
But once I woke up, calmed down and then stopped laughing, it occurred to me to wonder. Do other authors dream about other authors? Do they dream about their characters? Is my brain off the deep end or just averagely crazy? I may never know the answer to that one…