Yesterday I posted a part of an interview I’d once done with the hero of my grieving woman book. Talking with a character like this is a good way of solidifying ideas, especially for finding out who the character is and what she wants. Here is another part of that interview:
Pat: David was always so busy, he never had much time for you, but did he have time for your daughter?
Amanda: He always managed to make time for our daughter Thalia, for which I’m thankful. She loved him very much, though she doesn’t seem to be grieving. But maybe it’s different for her. She’s a grown woman with a life of her own, so she’s not panicking about growing old alone, or worrying about money, or any of the other things that go along with grieving a spouse. But everyone’s grief is different, so she could be internalizing it. Also, she feels betrayed. Apparently, she knew I was having a cyber affair. She doesn’t understand. Heck, I don’t understand. Can you explain it to me?
Pat: Perhaps you were at a vulnerable time, grasping at life any way you could. Perhaps you needed someone to help you through the worst time of you life. Perhaps you really did think you’d moved on and didn’t realize you’d been denying what David’s death would mean to you. The best way to show yourself that he no longer meant everything to you was to find someone else who meant something to you.
Amanda: But I do love Sam. He isn’t just a replacement. And anyway, he can’t be a replacement. He’s married.
Pat: Yeah, I’m sorry for that, but there’s no way around it. I mean, I could make him single, but then there’d be no story. You’d go from David’s life to Sam’s. Period. No identity crisis. (Do they even call it an identity crisis anymore?) No coming of age story. No money problems.
Amanda: Seems good to me. After all, I’m the one who has to go through all that turmoil and grief. Alone. Hey! How come I don’t have any friends?
Pat: Maybe you were friends with other preacher’s wives. They are as busy as you once were and have little time for you. That seems to be a growing theme in the story — no time for Amanda. David had no time for you — he was too busy before he got ill, and afterward he became reclusive. Thalia has no time for you — she’s busy with her work and she’s angry at you. Sam doesn’t have much for you any more. And your friends have no time for you.
Amanda: That makes me seem pathetic. I don’t like feeling pathetic.
Pat: I don’t much like it, either. A pathetic hero is not much of a hero. Maybe I should throw more trauma your way.
Amanda: As if losing my husband, losing my daughter, and losing my home isn’t trauma enough. Maybe you could plan a trip for me to meet Sam. I’d sure like to get naked with him!
Pat: You would, you hussy.
Amanda: Not a hussy. Just a woman lost. A woman who doesn’t see herself as special yet who managed to find two great loves. It was fate’s joke that the two loves overlapped.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.