Now, as to some of those other women in my novels …
I was recently told by my sister that my nieces are constantly seeing my wife in the women in my novels. What surprised me about this idea was the one that my nieces had read my books. I am not surprised they can read, I just didn’t know the daughters of this particular sister had read my novels.
So, anyway, let me talk/write about some of those women in my novels.
Heather and Melinda, as mentioned in the previous blog, are probably too perfect—Heather’s penchant for conspiracy theories notwithstanding. Sonya Kiel may also fit in with those two, I’m not sure.
But what about the others? For starters, let me say right out that I am in love with all of them. Part of that is because they all do share some traits with my wife, but they are also written to be women I would want to meet—especially if I were single. Now, before I get accused of sexism (probably too late, huh?) let me point out that the men in the stories are better than real men, too. See, I like all kinds of fiction, but the kind I have tried to write (whether disguised as fantasy, mystery or western) is the kind where you read about the hero or heroine and want to aspire to be like them. Not that you want to get thrown off a cliff and shot (see The Nice Guy and Cheerleader, Gymnast, Flautist, Spy), but you want to find not only the kind of love they have, but to live a life of commitment like they exhibit. You want to be the kind of person who stands up for what’s right and, when a punch lands, you get back up and join back in the fight.
That’s the kind of woman Ellen (Hating God: A Love Story) is. Life has dealt her a lot of blows, and she almost succumbed, but she fought back, with help from friends, family and faith. Or Cassie Jones (A Woman Caught) who dug her own hole, but let God lift her out of it. And the most impressive part of her struggle is that she doesn’t return to the life she left. Or Alyste Farmer, who was left all alone but learned not so much to stand on her own two feet, but to let God hold her up (So Many Books).
And then there are the two Mariannes. The first Marianne (All the Time in Our World, Some of the Time) grows into the woman she becomes. For all she achieves, her proudest and strongest ties are to her family. Same with her husband. The second Marianne (TimeKeepers and TimeKeepers: Rectification) is thought by everyone around her to be just short of a superhero, but she sees herself as an orphan, orphaned not just from her parents, but from the whole world. She’s at her best when the world is falling apart, which reminds me a lot of several of the strong women I know.
I guess the closest woman to my wife of all “my women”, though, is Jody. (See most of the books I have written.) She bares the strongest resemblance to my wife—not physically, but in temperament, and determination and her love for her husband. But Jody’s not perfect. Everyone who has read The Return of the Nice Guy, especially, knows that Jody can be quite petulant. No, that part’s not based on my wife … not entirely, anyway. But be honest, guys: if you’ve read my books, isn’t Jody the one you’d want to marry? Sure, she’s attractive physically, but that’s not what draws you to her, is it?
Lastly, I am not a girl. In the words of Hayden Fox when discussing the “masculinity scale”, “I’m in the high 90s myself.” So yeah, some of what I have women in the books say or think may not be one hundred percent accurate to the feminine mind. Oh well. Women are not cookie-cuttered, I am writing about an ideal, and I really like the old stories like Louis L’Amour and Dostoyevsky where women were put on something of a pedestal.