Monday, October 24, 2011

My Schizoid Life

My schizoid life as a writer in more than one genre would likely make a normal person crazy. Sixteen-year-old Allie Emerson is the main character in the young adult series (Moonstone, Moon Rise, Moon Spun, Shadow Moon) I write for Bell Bridge Books. Allegra Thome is the teacher protagonist in The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam, an adult mystery.

 True, I’ve been on both sides of the desk, most recently as a teacher. But, it seems like only yesterday I was on the other side, gazing at the teacher with what I hoped was a look of rapt attention, while busily checking out the cute guy two rows over. Consequently, I find it easy, even beneficial, to head hop back and forth between the two.

To further complicate matters, you may have noticed both my ladies have names that start with “A.” What was I thinking? Is my brain not already suffering from information overload, not to mention swirling madly with half-baked ideas for new books and plot twists yet to be written? Did I set out to complicate my life even more? Um, no. Apparently I just love the letter “A” because it was completely unplanned, like many things in my life including three sons. Yikes, that sounded bad. Rest assured, I’m not sorry I had them! My theory, though slightly flawed, was - if you wait until the right time to have babies, you never will.

Oh yes, there's a third leg on my stool. I started out as a writer of medieval romance. You gotta love hunky guys with big swords, castles, knights and feisty maidens with magic crystals. However, there is a limit as to how much my brain can handle. And, no, my heroine's name did not start with an "A."
    I have developed a method that makes writing two different genres a tad simpler. Both Allie and Allegra live in the same imaginary region of Central Washington State which happens to be my stompin' grounds. Yakima Valley became Vista Valley. Parker and Parker Heights became Peacock Flats and Peacock Flats, an area I drove by each day when I commuted to my job as a counselor for behavior disordered teens. Therefore, I'm able to use the same fake names in both books along with some real ones like: Cascade Mountains, Columbia River, Space Needle, Snoqualmie Pass and Lake Keechelus. Will Allie ever meet Allegra? Who knows, it could happen.

What about you? Have you figured out ways to deal with the complexities in your life? Does it involve a bottle of wine? A chick flick? A long soak in the tub? If you care to comment, there could be a book in your future, one starring a hunky knight with a big sword and a feisty maiden with a magic crystal whose name does not start with “A.”

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