No one wants to read a novel about perfect people on a happy adventure. As a writer, I strive to create characters who are both fun and real. Likable, yet flawed—just like all my friends. My dad once said, “If you think someone is perfect, you don’t really know them.”
My novella, “Mending Sarah’s Heart” in the Thimbles and Thread Collection, released on July 1st.
In it, the hero Jack Taylor wants to be a better man—to give up his selfish ways. He will start by taking care of the widow of his business partner, who wants nothing to do with him.
Jack is a fun character. He is very handsome in a swashbuckler kind of way. He’s a bit of a daredevil who made his money prospecting. Why not? It’s my story.
He tries to bring more business to Sarah’s dress shop but doesn’t know anything about women’s fashion. Not many heroes would. If she owned a mining supply store, he would know what to do.
He makes several awkward, unsolicited attempts to draw customers. One involves a covert study of Godey’s Lady’s Book, the Vogue Magazine of the late 1800s.
He reviews the fashion plates and learns terminology, which he practices on an unsuspecting Mrs. Winslow and her daughters.
Jack wants to be perfect, or at least make amends for wrongs he’s done. And, by the end of the story—no spoilers.
Reading a novel without conflict is like watching someone else’s vacation slideshow. Yawn.
Now, if someone had been stung by a jellyfish, I might want to see those pictures.
It didn’t happen to me, but I’ve heard stories and remembered them. I once made an unforgettable trip to the sand dunes in southern Colorado. It involved me sitting in the camper on a one-hundred-degree afternoon in the parking lot of the auto parts store while my husband tried to fix the truck. Something about a wheel bearing. I met several other women whose husbands were doing the same thing. We formed sort of a club.
My family finally made it to the campground and selected a prime spot. But when high winds came up, we thought the camper might blow over. So, we parked ourselves between a couple of bigger, heavier RV’s and hoped they held steady.
On the way to this spot, the tire slipped into a ditch, and the campground owner had to pull the truck out. Meanwhile, my seven-year-old son lost a tooth while eating ice cream. We guarded that tooth until the tooth fairy visited our camper with whatever spare change she could find in her purse.
The sand dunes were nice, but the drama turned the trip into an adventure.
Jack Taylor is the kind of hero that can make the story memorable because he’s flawed . . . but trying. Bring on the drama.