Friday, December 14, 2018

How My Characters Will Spend the Holidays

It's 11 days before Christmas,
And not a gift has been bought.
No decorations are hanging,
No tree has gone up,
But the writer is plotting,
Dastardly deeds concocting. . .

Forgive the really bad poem. It came to me as I was waking up this morning. I don't know why I always get my best ideas for the plot I'm working on when I'm in the midst of something else. I made a few notes. Then I went to my faculty meeting. Now, I'm about to start reading research papers. We're at end of semester.

Thinking about the holidays got me wondering how and with whom my characters would be spending the season. It's a no-brainer about Lizzie Stuart, my crime historian. In her world, the year is 2004. She has met her future in-laws at Thanksgiving (although I haven't gotten that book written yet), and she is getting married on New Year's Eve. So, she's spending the holidays with John Quinn, her former-homicide-detective fiance. What she doesn't know is that her mother, Becca, is about to put in another appearance.

Meanwhile, Hannah McCabe, my homicide detective, in my near-future (soon to be parallel universe) novels is spending Christmas in Albany at home with her father, Angus, the former newspaper journalist and editor. The year is 2020. Adam, her brother, will come to dinner and bring his girlfriend, Mai. Their Great Dane puppy, who finally has a name, will be there. He will need to be reminded of his training when he sees the ham on the dining room table. Hannah's best friend and her husband will arrive, bringing dessert from their restaurant, and a surprise visitor will drop by.

The character I'm not sure about is Jo Radcliffe, my World War II Army nurse. She is a new protagonist who I introduced in "The Singapore Sling Affair." This short story (in EQMM's Nov/Dec 2017 issue) is set in 1948. Jo has come back to the village in upstate New York, where she has inherited her aunt's house and her Maine Coon cat. The cat has not warmed up to her yet. But I'm sure several people will invite her to Christmas dinner. I don't know whose invitation she will accept. And then there's New Year's Eve. Will she stay at home with a good book? Or, maybe she'll be invited to go down to the City to celebrate there.  

Right now, I need to start reading papers. Then I'm going to try to get in a couple of hours of shopping. Tonight I'm making fudge. Tomorrow our Upper Hudson chapter of Sisters in Crime has our annual holiday party. And maybe tomorrow, I'll get some decorations up.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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