Friday, February 10, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Melinda Leigh

LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH CHARACTERS



Besides working in my pajamas, one of the great joys of writing novels is living vicariously through my characters.

If I’m tired of a (fairly) well-behaved mom of two teenagers, I get to channel the heroine of my current work-in-process. Rachel is impulsive. She tends to blurt out whatever is on her mind.  Many times she regrets this, but how many people out there always think of the perfect come-back twenty minutes too late?  I’m usually in the car on the way home before the right retort pops into my head.  This never happens to Rachel because I can go back into the scene and write that come-back in when I think of it.  Rachel has a few doozies.

In my horse-crazed teen years, my life’s goal was to be a member of the US Equestrian Team.  Even though I owned a horse for many years, things didn’t quite work out the way that I’d planned <cough> years ago.  But Rachel?  She made it. And all that time at the stable sure comes in handy when I’m writing her scenes.

Of the greatest thrills of writing and reading is the ability to immerse yourself into another world or life, to experience things that aren’t possible (or even desirable) in real life.  The concept of being a CIA agent or spy is exciting. The reality is likely very dangerous and not so romantic.  Characters shoot guns and wrestle bad guys. Characters get to have hot monkey sex in interesting places, like the beach (where we all know the idea of sex is great, but the reality is fraught with issues like fleas, beach patrol, and sand in uncomfortable places.)  Characters can do anything that I, the Supreme Being of my own fantasy world, wish them to do.  It’s quite a rush.

My goal is to take this exciting element of writing and bring it to life on the page so readers can experience all the fun, too. Because the joys of writing translate into the joys of reading. Books take us to places we might never otherwise see. Through reading we experience so much more of the world than is physically possible.  And sometimes, we just need to get away from the smelly laundry, bickering kids, or broken toilet for a couple of hours. Whether I’m reading or writing, books are like a micro-vacation.

Melinda Leigh is a mom, a dog lover, and a second degree black belt in Kenpo karate. She is the author of She Can Run, an Amazon bestselling romantic suspense released in November 2011 from Montlake Romance. Her next book, Midnight Exposure, is scheduled to release in April 2012. Find out more Melinda: website / facebook / twitter






6 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you ~ well sort of since I don't write ~ The best thing about reading about adventure is you can enjoy the adventure without all the attached dangers.

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  2. Ellen, don't you especially love those wilderness adventures, like trekking through the jungle from the comfort of your favorite chair? No bugs, no snakes, no sleeping on the ground and not showering for a week...

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  3. Hi Melinda,

    Congrats on the success of She Can Run! Loved this article, and you are so right, being able to channel other characters, and have them say whatever we want (including things we'd never say ourselves) is certainly a perk of writing.

    And I have a funny story to go with that. When I published my book my 93 year old grandmother kept wanting to read it, which I discouraged because I didn't want her to disinherit me. :)
    The book's heroes swear alot, like every few sentences. And they have certain disrespectful thoughts, and they are quite crass and "earthy" when thinking about certain parts of their anatomy--so every time my grandmother would ask I'd put her off with "I don't think you'd like it. It's not the kind of book you like to read." (she reads biographies) So one day my grandmother asks me about it in front of my dad, and my dad says. "Oh, no. You can't read it." And my grandmother asks my dad. "Did you read it?" And my dad turns kind of red and stutters out. "I can't, it's RRR rated." Bwhahahahhahahha

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  4. OMG, Trish. That's hilarious.

    But this is worse. There's sex in my book. It's not erotic, but it's hot. Nevertheless, every single person in my family read my book. (except my teenagers, who are too weirded out by the idea that their mom even knows about sex). But my family is very supportive and sweet about it. NO ONE mentions the sex parts. It's like they don't exist. Yikes. This is going to take some getting used to.

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  5. I agree that books are mini-vacations! I'm sure that is why I'm such an avid reader. I love to escape while my 3 yo is napping, after the older kids are in bed or when I have an afternoon to myself when they are with their grandparents.

    I write too, mostly for myself. It gives me the opportunity to travel, hike, sail, solve crimes and be passionate with a hot man with an accent all from my laptop!

    I've added your book to my list- sounds like one I'd enjoy!

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    1. Books are the best therapy for a crazy life. I hope you enjoy She Can Run. And good luck with you own writing.

      (I'm writing an Argentine secondary character right now. So much fun.)

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