It seems a bit paltry to have a single holiday to give thanks when I have so much for which to be grateful. I am grateful for my online friends and for my fans. (Odd to think I actually have fans!) I am grateful for the readers of my blog, who never fail to offer support and suggestions. I am especially grateful for my publisher, who understands my books better than I do. But I am most grateful for being the author of my novels rather than being a character in them.
It’s an author’s responsibility to put her characters through as many traumas as possible. Readers want to worry about characters, they want to see how characters act when faced with horrendous conditions and dilemmas, and they want the characters to go bravely where they themselves would never go. As an author, I might give readers what they want, but frankly, I would never choose to be in any of the situations my characters encounter. And, although I am trying to be bold and brave in my own life, I will never be as bold as my characters. Nor do I want to be.
When Mary Stuart, the hero of Daughter Am I discovers she inherited a farm from recently murdered grandparents she never knew she had, she becomes so obsessed with finding out who they were, why someone wanted them dead, and why her father claimed they had died before she was born, that she ends up driving halfway across the country with strangers. That these strangers are all in their eighties might have put her at ease, but when she finds out about their less than lawful pasts, it still doesn’t deter her from her goal. In fact, she heads for Leavenworth, hoping to talk to Iron Sam AKA Butcher Boy AKA Samuel Bornstein, a hit man for the mob who might have known her grandfather.
Um, yeah. Like that’s something I would do! I am grateful that I have never had to deal with such a situation. When Mary discovers that one of the aged crooks is carrying an illegal weapon, she confiscates it and tucks it in her purse. Forgetting for the moment that I don’t carry a purse, having a gun tucked away in a handbag where it might accidentally go off is not high on my list of priorities. (Though I would be interested in firing a gun just once to see how it would feel. Strictly for research purposes, you understand.)
Sneaking onto the property of a connected guy to dig for stolen gold . . . hmmm. Perhaps I might do that, but I’m grateful I don’t know of any such treasure in real life that would put me to the test.
And that’s just one of my books. When I consider all of them, my gratitude is unending. I am grateful I never had to twice attend my mother’s funeral as poor Bob Stark did in More Deaths Than One. I’m grateful I have not yet had to deal with an epidemic so severe that the entire state of Colorado needs to be quarantined as described in A Spark of Heavenly Fire. I am grateful that I am not being held captive in an underground installation run by a quasi-government agency as are my heroes in Light Bringer, which will be released in the spring of 2010.
I am also grateful to Margay Leah Justice for inviting me to be a guest on Moonlight, Lace, and Mayhem, where this post first appeared.
So, what are you literarily grateful for?