Whether it’s a pull quote, the preview feature on Amazon, or sites where you can read up to 20% of the book for free (I enabled the highest setting, because I have confidence people will want to find out what happens next), sharing is caring and I was delighted to see a reader share a bit of dialogue that caught her fancy via a Kindle feature. Go ahead and look. Maybe share something you liked, too.
I also will be sharing samples now and then that don’t spoil the stories. Humor in my books is one of the thing I really pride myself on and I as shocked to notice my posts so far haven’t been very specific about that. The characters both are deliberately witty, with sparkling banter or biting wit when it fits, and sometimes… well, there may be moments where Raf seems more like Buster Keaton than David Niven. Frankly, I think it makes him easy to relate to.
The wise-cracking, action detective is a bit of an archetype. What makes mine special,? Well, I thought it would be interesting if he was serious about music. Jazz helped define the era 1920-1940s, symbolizing moving away from formal traditions, opportunities for minorities and women to have their talents recognized, and a celebration of individuality. Raf’s love of jazz shapes who he is, lively and open-minded. As the years go on, he’ll be interacting with the music of different times, too, helping describe his relationship with the period. Another thing about Raf is that he mostly likes people. He’s no loner. His friends are an important part of his stories.
As for his friends, Eugene Marshall fits another archetype, the millionaire playboy. Except he’s both self-made *and* has autism symptoms. I didn’t want him to be obnoxious, so I looked for a way to make him a little vulnerable. The autism traits are taken from me. When Allan asked me, “Which of your characters are you most like: Rafael or Clara?” I had to say, “Honestly? Eugene.”
Analytical and smart, but naive and not great at filtering what should be said and what shouldn’t in the speed of a conversation.
World War Two brought out the strength in a lot of women. Agent Carter is a large part of the inspiration for Clara Thomas, but so are the real women of Bletchley Park, the WAVES, WACs and WASPS, and so on. But too often a strong woman is considered enough ‘development’. I thought it would be great if her strength came out of her weakness– she’d been an abused woman and had help getting herself together. Going on missions rebuilt her confidence in herself. Her strength isn’t an innate gift, but the result of fighting back and finding her power. I think that’s not just a good example, but a way to push back against the stereotype that abuse victims choose victimhood.