Monday, September 13, 2010
Someone Finally Asked It
Bryony's basic storyline was outlined decades ago, so I find it interesting when certain elements mirror life today. For instance, from the very beginning, Melissa's mother, Darlene, was a single parent, who supported Melissa and her younger brother Brian through freelance writing assignments.
Someone asked me the other day if I modeled Darlene's character on me. I denied it, and that was the truth. At the time of the novel's conception, I was married with two small children and a third on the way. The possiblity of raising those children (and the three that followed them) as a single parent was the farthest thing from my mind. Heck, I had never given freelance writing a thought. I'm not sure I even knew thet option existed.
Besides, since I married my first husband rather young (two weeks after my twentieth birthday), my work history was slim: babysitting, office work, one fast food restaurant, and a summer internship at a newspaper. I was a happy stay-at-home mom and had no desire of ever being anything else.
However, since Darlene cared for her husband Frank before his death and later raised two children in the middle of Simons Woods, I wanted some lucrative work-at-home employment for her. At the time I began the story--1985--the only jobs I knew that could be performed at home were envelope stuffing and writing.
It seemed more likely that Frank, a former photojournalist, would fall love with Darlene the writer rather than Darlene the envelope stuffer. Also, having Munsonville's village board hire Darlene to create promotional literature for Simons Mansion gave her a good reason to relocate the family. I was well into the second round of edits before it occured to me that someone might think I modeled Darlene after myself.
Actually, I am none of the characters. All but one spring completely from my imagination. Only Ed Calkins is based on a real person and his imagination, brought to literary life, with his permission, by my imagination. I've heard sometimes authors base charcters on themselves, but for me, creating them only from the impressions that roll about my mind has been much more fun.
Denise M. Baran-Unland at 7:27 AM