My first attempt at fiction, Only Tim Sent Flowers, the first in a series of books about an unusual heroine, Tookie, has been under contract with Black Opal Books for over a year. It has gone through three edit cycles and is now ready for release.
After almost seven decades trodding this continent and a few others, I decided to try my hand at writing fiction. Although I’d previously written numerous technical pieces and a bit of nonfiction, I never had the desire to make up stories to put on paper. It was quite a surprise when, two years ago, an enigmatic character came to me about whom I strongly desired to write. I suppose she is a composite of numerous women I’ve known, seen, or heard tell of. Creating her wasn’t a conscious decision; she just appeared fully formed. Thinking I knew everything necessary to tell her story, I embarked on the journey which will soon produce the first volume of her series but not nearly as easily as first thought. The most surprising thing was that, as I dealt with editors’ comments, Tookie unveiled aspects of herself previously unknown to me. Enough about me, an unremarkable old writer, and on to our protagonist.
Starting now, almost everything in this blog will be about Tookie, proper name Mary Louise. Some days we’ll consider her character and personality, other times we’ll entertain questions about her. We may even ask questions of her. Her sometimes peculiar conceptions will keep readers’ attention much better than mine. Perhaps, readers might find interrogating her lovers interesting.
Tookie’s defining characteristic, one of which she’s unaware, is that she’s an undiagnosed Aspie (or Asper) girl, a syndrome until recently thought not to be found in women. Knowing about her neurological condition sometimes helps explain her unorthodox behavior. Two defining Asperger’s attributes, intelligence and social awkwardness, are found in abundance in Tookie. Being very high functioning, she adapts well and masks her social ineptness well enough that most people don’t perceive her as being other than a bit shy. OK, many think she’s odd.
Telling her story from her POV seemed natural because what goes on inside her head is often very different from what appears externally. Because Tookie has no idea what any other character is thinking, I don’t think it would be fair to her for the reader to hear her story from an omniscient narrator’s POV. That the reader may draw different inferences and come to different conclusions than she does is part of the fun. A few chapters are from a lover’s POV as examples of how others perceive her and how they react to her sometimes baffling behavior.
My blogs will introduce you to my heroine, something that’s a generally enjoyable experience but the reader should be aware that she’s an earthy type who describes experiences in explicit terms and doesn’t use a euphemism when a profanity or vulgarity will do. Bon voyage.