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Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.
September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Karen Borelli.
“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!
Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:
Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.
Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.
In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.
Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
CHARACTERS IN CRISIS
When a natural disaster strikes, hurricanes, fire, and flood, how do people behave? Why does one person risk his own life to save others and another collapse and need psychiatric help? Everyday heroes don’t see themselves that way. They seem to act from an unconscious drive.
How do people respond to acute and chronic danger? In war-torn countries whole populations are forced to adapt first to acute and then chronic danger. In the US, in this and the previous century, wars have taken place in faraway regions. The general population has not been challenged except for the families of military personnel serving overseas. 9/11 was an exception, an acute and sudden crisis, which forced citizens to react according to their core strengths and weaknesses. Citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq must deal with the constant threat of death. They have to make choices—whose side are they on? Do they want to take sides? Is survival their only goal?
In Europe, whole populations lived under the rule of the dictator, Hitler. Any infringement of the rules enforced by the SS could lead to torture and death. The UK lived under constant threat of being conquered and endured five years of bombing. They had to go about the daily business of living despite air raids and constant reminders of death. People in their late teens belonged to local warden patrols. One of their duties was to scrape victims of bombing off streets and sidewalks. Neighbors saw houses across the street burned to the ground and whole families destroyed. Amazingly, many humans survive this chronic danger with their spirit intact. At the same time as people under siege experience daily threats to their lives, they often experience deprivations such as severe food and goods rationing.
It is this enduring spirit within the human psyche that I search for in some of my characters.
As an RN, I often saw people face crises. How does a family cope with an accident that results in a brain injury to one of its sons, married and the father of two? Does jealousy erupt in uninjured sons who watch their mother spend hours at the bedside of her sick child? The wife, can she divide her time between her husband in a coma, or worse, acting weird, and her young children? Do members of such a family make snap decisions or do their actions seem to come from somewhere deep within their memories?
When people are sick, they sometimes hide their feelings from their doctors who seem so much above them with their control over life-saving techniques and their knowledge. These same patients don’t hide their feelings of frustration, anger, and despair from their nurses. I learned to listen to how ordinary people process their fears of disability, aging, and death. The human spirit never ceases to amaze me.
Then there are the ethical decisions that require courage. I think we learn this kind of courage during our school years. When a classmate is being made a scapegoat, how do you react? Do you join the in-crowd? Do you secretly dislike yourself for joining the winning side? If you are the scapegoat, how do you react to the injustice and the constant chipping away at who you are? Can you fight back and what methods do you choose?
I’m guessing it’s because I was born into a western culture but I most often see the individual against society. Sometimes a person has to reject the beliefs of her/his peers in favor of a more ethical choice. Gang members are scary with their violent tactics but I see them as cowards because they need the backing of the group.
It is these questions of how a person faces a crisis and what unpopular moral or ethical choices she/he makes that motivate me to examine my fictional characters. Sure, the story’s important but who brings that story to life and why—that’s what intrigues me in the work of others and in my own work. I’m reminded of such characters as Scarlet O’Hara, King Lear, the three boys who become men in MYSTIC RIVER, and the women in the adaption of Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli novels on TNT.