Sparkle Abbey is hosting guest blogger, Arlene Kay
Most writers find inspiration in novels and authors they have long admired. Classic characters such as Amelia Peabody and Emerson; Nick and Nora Charles; Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane and Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, have always intrigued me for two reasons: the witty banter between the couples, and the clever mysteries they solved. Smart, feisty women and strong dishy men make an irresistible combination designed to delight any reader. Must there always be a HEA (happily ever after) ending? Probably, although a touch of ambiguity spices up the narrative and mimics life as we know it.
The characters in my Boston Uncommons Series are the typical, everyday citizens one meets at Whole Foods or the local library—assuming of course that they happen to be enormously wealthy, intellectually gifted and drop-dead gorgeous. Readers tell me that Eja Kane, brilliant, loyal and fiercely independent, is someone they can relate to and imagine as a friend. She struggles for financial and professional survival in contrast to the uber-rich Swann clan who, although they lead privileged lives, are not immune from pain.
The writer’s challenge is to mine the common humanity of these characters and the traits that unite them, while crafting a solid mystery. I also enjoy confronting stereotypes and turning them on their collective ears. Thus, Anika Swann (beautiful former model) is audacious, kind and supportive of Eja. Deming, the son described as a cross between a film star and an underwear model, agonizes over his love for Eja; while daddy Bolin Swann (the hottest of alpha males and my personal favorite), is a devoted father determined to avenge his daughter’s murder.
After living with these characters and their foibles through four novels, I feel the bond and sense of intimacy that most writers have for their creations and those literary antecedents. Eja shares many of Amelia and Harriet’s traits, while Deming channels a muddled combo of Nick Charles and Radcliffe Emerson with contemporary flair. That continuity is a good thing. It links us to the pleasures of the past while allowing us to dream in the future.
That’s what reading fiction is all about.
Former Treasury executive Arlene Kay has reformed her bureaucratic ways and now pursues writing with the same ferocity she once displayed as a tax collector. Known as a snarky, somewhat sensuous practitioner of mystery, she is the published author of seven novels, including the BostonUncommons Series by Bellebridge Books. SWANN SONGS, the fourth in that series will be released in June, 2016.