I have decided to just lay it all on the line. Spill the beans. Let my fingers do the walking. It might not be what you think. I decided today that I had to just write the darn blog - not do a draft, just let it spill out into space. As someone who spent most of her life in education and didn't begin to blog until the age of sixty, it's a huge risk. All my typos and grammar errors out there for someone to critique. I feel quite naked. But it's also freeing - I can just sit down and talk to you directly from my letter lunacy. (And if you read my guest blog on Jill Edmondson's site, you'll know what I mean by letter lunacy and if you didn't, what are you waiting for?)
OK, that was just an aside. Now to the title. That's not what you might be thinking about, either. No need for Vince fans to panic.
Right now, I am actually struggling with two different books. I am writing both of them and not paying enough attention to either. But they call me at different times, speak to me in the newspaper, open avenues in others' speech, and make me think about them every time I experience an emotion or a setback or laugh hilariously at something that's just happened. It's almost like a struggle between two personalities. Like United States of Tara maybe.
One book is dark and sad. It follows a rather complicated protagonist who admits to killing her best friend in the first line of the book. She goes on a quest to discover herself - an old cliche, I realize. Her origins are not what they appeared and her relationship with her friend is also many-layered. I'm drawing on a lot of my children's heritage for the details of the story. Ann is half white, half black, with a mix of native, just like my kids. Caroline, her friend, is - on the surface - a supportive, loving person. Only when the layers underneath are exposed does the reader understand how she might have been murdered.
The other book is a cozy. That's a fairly light look at murder - a kind of black comedy I guess you might say, free of gore, swearing and explicit sex. Very unlike my other books, I know! The residents of a retirement home are being murdered one by one in a very violent manner. For this one, I'm drawing on the experiences of my mother and mother-in-law and my friends' parents. I like it. It's funny (I think) and yet I have planned a terrific ending. The characters are very vivid in my head.
So you can see why both of these books speak to me all day long. I talk to the characters, outline the plots, and invent their backgrounds all in my head. I do this for every book: cooking it, I call it, probably not an original analogy, but it fits. Hopefully, I'll be able to decide soon which of the two to concentrate on before too much more time elapses. Too many pots on the stove might end up with one of them getting burned. Two many lovers might end up leaving me with none.