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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Sundries--Writing from Real Life

I had my phone and my notebook out on the couch, ready to call my brother, when he called me. We  have done this most of our life and my dad did it too, One of us would be thinking of the other and we'd get a call later that day.

Ed is twelve years older than me. Our brother Joe was two years older than Ed, fourteen years older than me, so I was basically raised as an only child after they left home. But, there was a period of time when I was The Little Sister.

Joe went off to The Naval Academy after high school, but Ed stayed around to go to community college for two years.
He got his chance to be "the older brother." He also went off to college and moved away, but would come back to visit. He took me to movies or different places in our community. Mom, Dad and I would go out to visit every once in a while. Here's one when I was in high school. Ed was a Federal Park Police officer, after a stint at the FBI fingerprint division:
Ed had serious health issues over the years. He lives on the East Coast, so I don't get to see him often, but my husband and I did go out for a visit right before his surgery last November. Here we are with his daughter:
Since our brother Joe was killed quite a long time ago and we lost Dad in 2001 and Mom in 2004, we still try to keep in touch fairly regularly.

I say all this, because I've been writing stories about five sisters, two of whom marry two brothers. Each couple has children and their stories are in various stages in my notes and computer files.

While most of my novels are contemporary romance, some of the stories will not fall into that category. I was thinking especially of Mary Margaret and Rob's oldest son, Mike. He is the quintessential big brother, but I've been careful to make him not perfect.

I've been transcribing some notes from a journal I filled recently. The book was upstairs and held ideas from my brain when it was fresh from sleep. There were several Mike stories in it, told from different points of view. He takes a month after his senior year in high school to spend time with each family member and go visit distant relatives. Joe used to "go visiting" when he was home and I know he touched a lot of lives.

But Mike's story needs to be told. He helps his sister Reney get her driver license and takes his much younger sister on a balloon ride to a dressage competition because she's mad for horses. As I quickly scribbled notes into another notebook, I realized these stories will give insight into all of my characters as they are told in flashbacks or as details dropped in conversations.

So, while these things did not happen to me and those who read strictly romance may be disappointed by it, Mike's story needs to be in the lexicon of my fictional world. It is as essential as my brothers' stories are in the story of my life.

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