Have you ever finished a book and just really wondered who this character is who put all their hard work and sweat into writing this piece of art? Have you ever glanced at their headshot on the back of their masterpiece and thought, “So, this pretty, dark-haired lady dreams up grousome murders of children?” She looks friendly, and happy. She looks like she drives a moderately mid-sized vehicle and probably flosses her teeth the way the dentist wants. She has a fancy bred dog with an annoying preppy name like “Jack” or “Tripp.” Her kids play soccer and take piano lessons. She enjoys a full bodied glass of red 2-3 times a week. She takes a cycling class and meets up with friends for a fancy lunch once a month at the club.
But then, I think about how this woman spent time reviewing grousome crime scene photos of murders. She had to study blood spatter patterns. She had to decide what details would make the story breathe. She tumbled down some back roads in an aboundoned town and scribble scratched what she saw. She called a friend of a cousin and asked enough to figure out how much money it would take to run a farm in the 80’s. She heard a name that sounded good and played with last names and nicknames. She researched weather patterns and geographical areas. Maybe she traveled to a different state or a different country and researched things. The “normal” everyday things this author does is not what interests me. What interests me is that she has this whole other life. She is in some dusty old courthouse with her nose stuck in old county record books. She is someone who drives 60 miles to buy coffee for a prosecuting attorney who is nice enough to answer some questions about a fictional case. I see someone who can’t sleep at night because she is thinking about how to end a sentence. Not just any sentence, but that sentence in chapter 9, where the new piece of information has been intoduced and the character just has not been subtle enough about their feelings. I see someone who is inconspicuously taking notes on their phone when a conversation interests her. Later, she will recite it and reread it. It will become the voice of one of her characters. I see someone who is determined to make their creative art come alive. I see someone who does not care what the best-sellers are about. I see someone who wants their craft and their story to reach far beyond any boarders or boundaries. I see someone who works hard. She is consistent. She believes in the gut of her gut that she is doing what she was made to do. I see her. I see me.