I'm up, caffeinated, and not wanting to write, but to talk about writing. It's a curse of authors. We do love to chat about our books, ideas, and inspirations. So, let's chat, shall we. A while back, I read an author’s comment that she never read her own books after they went to print. I don't sit down and read them front to back, but I do visit my books often. (Well, most of them. I have no desire to read Before It Stains again. That was painful to write and I'd just as soon let it lie.) My characters are so attached to this web of stories I've told, it's really hard to keep up with all the different voices. The last thing I want to do is have a bunch of women, all with the same voice and opinions. Just like in any social circle, in Molly's world all of the participants are unique and bring their own insights. I look at Molly as the mother Aspen tree, simply because she is connected to all of the main characters. Like an Aspen grove, my fictional world is one organism tied together by its roots, but each character has her own tree.
There are tiny saplings like Mo, Steph, Jamie, and Sandy, pretty much the size and shape they will always be. I don’t have any intention of visiting them again, but there is no need to cull them out. You never know when a growth spurt will hit. Over there, that patch of young trees grouped together, that’s Harper, Lauren, and the Tar Bar girls. I do hope to see them again. I think there is more to that story. There are giant trees, like Molly’s. She offers so many possibilities, there’s no telling how tall and spread out she will become. Rainey’s tree is pretty solid too. She hovers over Katie and stands at Molly’s back, away from the others, watching and growing. Gray and Lizbeth are the two on the edge of the grove, their full limbs turned toward the sun. Decky and Charlie, well, they are the two kind of bent ones near the stream, their upper branches entwined. They grow stronger together. Under the larger trees are the characters that sprout from each story, the friends and family on which the main characters depend.
Scattered around on open patches of ground are the seedlings, characters that have sprung up independently, but always attached to Molly somehow. Sometimes I don’t see how Molly could be remotely involved with a story, until she walks into the room or answers the phone. Hell, I didn’t know she was Stephanie’s old girlfriend, until she just was. Who knew she would end up being Rainey’s best friend, attorney, and ass saver on occasion? When Lizbeth dialed the phone to talk to her oldest friend about her recent discover that yes, women could be very attractive, I had no idea Molly was going to answer. Molly just seems to find a way onto the page. I’m glad the readers like Molly. She is bound and determined to be part of the show.
So, I visit my grove quite often. I prune, water, and remove the dried up sprigs that didn’t receive enough sunlight, withered, and died. I tend to the young seedlings, assuring them that one day they will grow into big trees, just like the others. Give it time, I say. I watch to make sure the mature trees continue to grow straight and true, retaining their individual characteristics, while keeping a strong connection to the roots from which they sprung. Sometimes, I’ll rest in a particular tree’s shadow, visiting. It’s very much like sitting down at the kitchen table sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend, reliving shared memories of tears and laughter. It may sound crazy, but I like these women. I enjoy their company. I wait for them to tell me more, so that our adventures can continue.
Yes, I re-read my books. I like them. If I didn’t like them, there really would have been no point to publishing them. They are my children and I am responsible for them, warts and all. I may favor one from time to time, but they all have a special place in my fictional world, my Aspen grove of imaginary friends. I hope my grove continues to thrive and spread with new ideas. You never know. An Aspen tree grove in Utah is the largest living organism in the world.