The Shadow and The Me
In this case, Sandi Webster (of the Sandi Webster Mysteries) is the “Me” and I’m the “Shadow”, depending on your point of view. We’ll work with my point of view.
I’m sure readers often wonder if the writer of a series is part of the protagonist. To some extent, it’s very possible. It’s often been said to write about what you know about.
I’ve also heard that readers want to know a little bit more about the author.
I shadow Sandi around during her escapades and add things I know about, such as being a chocoholic. I try to downplay it a bit, but I’ve always got chocolate within reach. She’s run out on occasion and since it’s her “comfort food,” that can turn into an issue.
Sandi is 5’3” and I’m 5’2”. While I don’t know much about being tall (unless I’m standing on a ladder), I do know something about being relatively short. If you’re a shorty, when’s the last time you tried to reach a product you needed that was placed on the top shelf at the store? I frequently have to ask another customer to reach things for me.
Sandi and her husband Pete drive a Jeep. So do I. Sandi has an imagination. So do I. Sandi’s a bit naïve. So am I.
She sighs and rolls her eyes frequently. I didn’t realize I do those things until my husband (God rest his soul) read one of my books and called it to my attention. “Why are you always sighing and rolling your eyes?” He knew I’d done those things long before Sandi did them.
That’s probably about where Sandi and I part ways. She’s a private eye and I’m not, although I probably would have enjoyed that type of work. She frequently deals with death. Thankfully, I don’t. She also has friends (Felicity and Stanley) whom she adores. I have friends whom I also adore, but Felicity and Stanley aren’t knockoffs of the people I care about. Sandi takes more chances than I probably would under the same circumstances. However, you never know what one will do when faced with a particular situation.
Sandi goes places and does things that I’ll never be able to do. I’d love to be stranded in a ghost town like she was in Old Murders Never Die and solve a mystery in the process.
Have I ever purposely included personality traits of someone I know in characters in a book? You bet. In Choosing One Moment – A Time Travel Mystery, I included traits of someone I know in three of the characters, and they were all good qualities.
After having said all of the above, I have to admit there’s a difference in the book I’m working on now. I needed to do a lot of research for the new book and found myself frequently running into a brick wall. Consequently, Sandi is having the same issues. There’s plenty of action, but she’s working on another old crime(s). With old murders comes research. In real life, if Sandi was real, she’d probably be standing next to me banging her head against the wall about now. Of course, stories need a resolution, and I’m sure she’ll prevail.
So when you read a Sandi Webster book, mentally look behind her and I’ll bet you’ll see a 5’2” shadow following her. Maybe, depending on the time of day, her shadow will have morphed into someone tall.
As a reader, do you enjoy learning tidbits about writers you enjoy? As a writer, do you include some of your traits and habits in your protagonist? The curious want to know. Or in this case, The Shadow wants to know.
Until next week, don’t be a shadow. Be the “Me” in your life, and have a great week.
CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
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Check out the book trailer for Old Murders Never Die at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTBOpzq-wDM