This week is fall break for my school system. Whoo-hoo! It has been wonderful so far. It’s chilly here and the weather hasn’t been great, but it’s been so wonderful to have time to write. Not only have I been working on this blog, I’ve also been working on my current story, along with re-reading the first book I ever wrote. Nothing like a cup of coffee in the morning while reading back through my first (character) love, Toni.
Toni appeared in my head when I was 34. I kept seeing her over and over, kicking a snow-mobile that refused to run, cussing into the freezing air – a woman on her own, learning to survive after her world had crumbled around her. When she refused to leave my mind, I started writing about her. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and when I finished with Toni, I wrote about her sister Belle, then her niece Katie. Three books later, I finally felt like I had finished their story.
I read once that the first character you create is often the character who is most like you. That is probably true. Toni favored me in appearance, was my age, loved children, but too, she was so much more. Maybe what I wanted to be. Brave and strong, determined to live when life had left her stripped bare. ( I found out many years later that I had more of those qualities than I realized at 34.) I loved Toni and I loved the characters in her book. I let one editor read it and she politely informed me that it wasn’t women’s fiction, that it was a romance novel. Who knew?
Here is a snippet of Toni:
“A woman’s voice spoke out again, a different voice, a stronger voice, and this time he recognized the sounds he heard. It was Toni. He was sure of it. He called to her, called out her name, and suddenly she appeared through a shadow. He couldn’t move. Even though he wanted to grab her and shake her for scaring him and Gabby, he did not move. He let her walk to him and when he saw her face, splotchy from crying, with eyes that looked like they had lived and died and suffered every pain known to man in one day, his heart ached for her.” -Toni’s Path