I’ve had the opportunity lately to visit a variety of other blogs to talk about my newest book, Bees In The Butterfly Garden. Believe it or not, such interviews come with a challenge many people are surprised by. Sometimes I have trouble recalling certain things about my book. I should know it by heart, but by the time the book releases it’s been quite a while since I worked on it (usually about a year). I’m also immersed in another project, and so my new characters are far more fresh in my mind.
I once saw an old movie with John Wayne (Without Reservations) where the heroine, Kit (played by Claudette Colbert) was a best-selling author headed to Hollywood where they were about to cast the hero for the movie version of her book. Along the way she meets John Wayne and decides he would be perfect for her hero. At one point on the journey to Hollywood, she goes into a store (actually to buy Wayne and his soldier buddy some liquor, but it’s not a wild movie, honest!). The clerk at the cash register happens to be reading her book, of course, since it’s sweeping the country. When she asks to buy more than the limit on the liquor, he initially refuses—until she confesses she’s the author of the book he’s enjoying. She then goes on to prove it by asking what scene he’s reading then she quotes, word for word, what’s coming next. He’s so impressed he lets her buy as much as she wants.
I’ve often said Hollywood almost never gets the facts straight, and this is a great example! I can barely remember my character’s name from book to book, let alone be able to quote long passages verbatim.
And so today I thought I’d do a very brief interview with Meg, my heroine, just to remind myself of her and to introduce her here now that the book is being shipped out to stores and distributors.
ME: So, Meg, you’re about to meet a number of new people beyond just me and my editors. How do you feel about people reading your story?
MEG: I suppose I should be somewhat embarrassed about everyone knowing I once aspired to be a thief. But if a lesson can be learned through me, then let it be.
ME: Why don’t you tell the readers why you wanted to become a thief? Perhaps that might help alleviate some of your embarrassment.
MEG: When I think back to it now, I wonder if I had any choice but to go through what I did? I needed to resolve my feelings about my father. I can’t blame him for my own bad decisions, but the truth is I wanted to prove him wrong for shutting me out of his life—in many ways abandoning me. Yes, he made sure I was raised in luxury, to learn all the ways of a lady. But without a hint of his love or approval, I lived a very lonely life. That was bound to create some repercussions . . . wasn’t it?
ME: It sounds like you still have some issues with your memories as a thief.
MEG: Yes, I suppose I do. And yet . . . without a memory of all we’ve been forgiven, would the gift God gave us still seem as sweet?
Hmmm . . . once again, one of my characters has me thinking . . .
I’ll leave you with that brief peek into Meg’s character, and end with another snippet about New York from Pete Hamill’s inviting book, Downtown. When I visited New York City while writing Bees In The Butterfly Garden, I was thrilled to see so many familiar places. Among them, Wall Street. I was struck by how close it is to one of the oldest churches in the city. Trinity Church faces Wall Street, and Mr. Hamill puts it eloquently to say it’s a symbolic crossroad of God and Mammon.