Knowing I would be one of four mystery authors to participate in a panel discussion at a Sisters in Crime meeting at Makiki Library in September, 2015, I’d done my research. In a small hot area enclosed by bookcases, twenty or so of us Sisters (and Misters) in Crime pulled our chairs close to round tables.
I sweated, fanned myself with a red round fan courtesy of the library, and glanced at my notes about the two questions I’d agreed to answer. Which author, living or dead, would I choose to do lunch with and why? What height of accomplishment did I reach when my book Angel Hero was published last year?
My immediate choice of authors was Ray Bradbury, famous fantasy writer. As a wide-eyed child nurtured by fairy tales and magic, the no-nonsense diet doled out by my just-the-facts-ma’am dad left me starving.
Ravenously, I devoured Bradbury’s enchanting short stories and novels, shouted “Yes!” to battling witches’ sinister spells, felt my thumbs prickle when Mr. Electro sizzled and embryos in bottles haunted dark carnivals, rode a rocket to the murmuring canals of Mars where gray-eyed Martians seeped into my bones, got sloppy drunk on Dandelion Wine and thirsted for more.
In his book Zen and the Art of Writing, Releasing the Creative Genius Within You, Bradbury recommends writers write about what they love and what they hate. “What do you want more than anything else in the world?” he asks. “Find a character like yourself who will want something or not want something with all his heart.”
In Angel Hero I, like Bradbury, wrote about a character who wanted something with all her heart. One big difference between this fiction master and me is that, while his characters are a little like him, they are also a whole lot different.
In my book, however, the main character is essentially me, and the other characters are essentially them. And my story is true except for names, dates, and locations, whereas Bradbury’s are as fictional as fiction gets.
(to be continued in the next blog post)