The Lucy and Ricky Effect is real.
It’s one of the greatest inspirations to my writing. I absolutely loved the show when I was a kid. I take as much inspiration from I Love Lucy as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roseanne, and MacGyver. Yeah, I loved MacGyver, too.
As for Lucy and Ricky, their relationship always struck me as funny because they loved each other but Ricky was always exasperated by the situations Lucy found herself in. His reaction was often the funniest part of the episode – along with Lucy’s reaction to being caught. Lucy, for her part, couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble and didn’t really think before acting. If you pay attention, none of my heroines can stay out of trouble either.
I get messages every so often that people think some of the men I write are bullies. The ones getting the most flak are Landon, Elliot and Griffin. Some people seem to think that they boss around the females too much. I, of course, don’t see it that way.
It’s not about bossing people around to me. It’s about keeping them safe. Landon, Elliot and Griffin aren’t trying to boss around their mates as much as they’re trying to keep something terrible from happening. I’m all about the girl power and have no interest in keeping down my heroines BUT I don’t think it’s realistic for an FBI agent, cop and security expert to sit idly back and watch the women they love face off with murderers without at least commenting.
What’s funny to me is that no one ever says any of my women are bullies. While I wouldn’t call Bay a bully, I would call Aisling and Avery bullies every once in awhile (Avery more often than not, in fact). It’s just the way they’re made. Aisling grew up with all brothers and found a way to stand up for herself that’s just as loud and demanding as the people telling her to behave herself. And Avery … well … Avery is just Avery. She’s going to do what she’s going to do and think about the consequences later.
Aunt Tillie is another story. She’s a bully because she likes it. She’s ten times the bully any of my men are and no one ever complains about that. They think it’s funny (as do I).
When approaching relationships, in general I try for a solid balance of power. In truth, the women have the bulk of the power. Let’s not kid ourselves. Still, the men occasionally like to pretend they have power and that’s what leads to some of the funnier bits.
When it comes to Avery in particular, I’m not sure there’s any “real” man who would put up with her. She’s growing and learning, but she’s a pain in the ass. She could be a junior Aunt Tillie, quite frankly. Aisling tends to trend in that direction, too, but she does it because she’s always felt overshadowed by testosterone. Bay is actually fairly easy to get along with. It’s her family that causes the bulk of the drama.
Still, I don’t write the men to be bullies. I do write them to occasionally have a spine, though. If they didn’t, the fun interactions would be lacking. If everyone got along and said “Oh, sweetie, the sun rises and sets on you and I don’t care what you do” there would be no drama and I might as well end the stories now. You need drama to move the narrative along, help the characters grow and inspire laughs.
That’s just how I think, though. What do you think? Are my men bullies?
I’ve decided that I’m not a fan of triangles.
A lot of authors include triangles into their work because it’s supposed to increase longevity for that series, and that means more money for the author. As a reader, though, I’ve found that triangles frustrate me.
If you do a triangle where the heroine is constantly waffling, you get to the point where you can’t move forward. Period. You’re left treading water in the middle of the ocean and it’s fruitless to swim in any direction. If the heroine is torn between two men she can never achieve true intimacy with either one of them.
I started the Avery Shaw series first. I was a reporter and that was what I knew best. I love the character. She is the most like me. As for love interests, when I first started writing the series I thought she would end up with Jake. Eliot was only supposed to be a distraction.
As time progressed, though, some things became evident. When looking at the characters as real human beings, Avery and Jake could never work. He’s a politician. She can never be a politician’s wife. Fans of Avery wouldn’t want her to try to fit in that world for more than a book or two (granted, it would be funny at first). It would be excruciating by the end, though, because she would suffer. Fans of Jake might not realize what she would have to give up to be with him, but it’s practically everything.
I’m not sure when I realized that Avery and Jake couldn’t be together. Whenever it was, though, things got easier when it came to the narrative. Letting go of the idea of Avery and Jake was freeing. I didn’t have to work to mature Avery at an unreasonable pace. Maturity is important. Doing it in a reasonable manner is more important. Eliot would never ask her to change and Jake would never be happy with her if she didn’t change.
That doesn’t mean Jake and Avery can’t be close. They ARE close. Eliot and Jake are good friends, too, and I look for that to move forward. There is no realistic world where Jake and Avery could be together, though. One of them would have to give up everything. That doesn’t seem fair to either character.
When it comes to Covenant College – the only other series where I had an ongoing triangle for more than a book – I always knew it was going to be Aric and Zoe. In fact, when I envisioned the series, it was because I could never understand what a centuries-old vampire would see in a teenager. If he has endless knowledge, what does a shallow girl have to offer?
I like that Rafael can love Zoe for what she is. I also like that they recognize they have nothing in common. Aric is Zoe’s soul mate. They understand each other and are on an even level. Rafael and Zoe could never be equal.
The final Covenant College trilogy revisits that relationship one more time. You never worry about Aric and Zoe’s marriage, but it’s fun to have individuals looking back on a relationship that never had a chance to work. It’s even funnier when the 12-year-old child develops a crush on the vampire.
For me, as a writer, I am willing to go to “out there” places as long as I feel the emotions are real. I love soap operas (Sonny and Brenda forever!). Absolutely. Positively. I never believed the Cassidines were going to freeze the world on General Hospital. I always wanted Luke and Robert to stop them, though.
That’s what is important to me.
What’s important to you?
Here we go ...
Starting the last week of February 2017, I promise to put up one blog a week.
I’m not going to be talking about release dates. I do my best to keep fans up to date (even though they call me a liar in 100 messages a week).
I’m talking about character structure and why I do certain things.
What’s up first?
Later this week I will discuss why I’m now against romantic triangles. This will deal with Avery Shaw and Zoe Lake mostly, but there will be an explanation why I have no intention to do a triangle ever again.
So … here we go.
When I was a kid, I was torn between whether or not I was going to grow up and be the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. I flirted with being a Jedi Knight for awhile, but I wasn't up for the intense travel associated with the gig. In my teens, I settled on being a writer -- although I had no idea the effort that would entail.