Thursday, August 12, 2010

To Angst or not to Angst...

Whenever a new book in my Benni Harper series comes out, I always receive letters about Benni and Gabe's relationship. Because I'm trying to portray a believable relationship and marriage, some of the story lines have Gabe and Benni in conflict, some (i.e. State Fair), have them, mostly, getting along.

So, half the letter writers complain that Benni and Gabe seem to fight all the time and often ask--"Will they ever learn to get along?" The other half moan, "When will you get back to the emotionally complex dilemmas that we love about their relationship?"

You can see my own dilemma.

The truth is that I have never actually planned in advance how their relationship will flow. Like real life (and I've been married 37 years so I know this from personal experience) you just never know what is going to happen between two people--spouses, friends, siblings, parents and children. So much depends on the circumstances we find ourselves in, right? Well, it's pretty much the same thing in writing. Yes, I am in complete some degree. But since my characters do have distinct personalities and histories, all of that comes into play with each book. It's all a chain that makes up their lives. And, of course, what happens to me affects what I write. To those of you who have read Love Mercy, you know that the fact that my own father has Alzheimer's affected how I wrote that book.

So, to angst or not to angst. I really don't know what Benni and Gabe are going to go through until I start the story. What I hope and expect from my readers is to remember that that each book is a part of a whole. A series is really just one long book. In a way, series writers are trying to mimic life. So, behind every corner is a surprise. Kind of like real life. Maybe, that's what makes each book (and day) so unique and precious.

Happy Summertime Trails, Earlene

p.s. One last comment about my last two posts. Some of you wondered why I was so upset about comments about the errors in State Fair. If you read between the lines (and many of you did and mentioned it), it wasn't just the comments about that particular book. My letter represented what I felt about 16 or so years of people's negative comments. The comments about State Fair were the proverbial straw on the camel's back. Nuff said 'bout it now.

p.p.s In Spider Web, which comes out in May 2011, the readers who love the angst between Gabe and Benni will be very happy...I promise!