Day: May 30, 2016
As a writer, I explore the human condition and human behavior. People fascinate me. As I create a character, I ask myself a lot of questions — in fact, I have a list of questions that I go through several times until I feel in my bones that I’ve gotten a character right. Each character tells me who he or she is, history, desires, goals, friends and family. I listen and write. There are times when I feel as if I’m channeling a character. I believe this is how it should be when writing fiction.
Last week at nytimes.com, I read interesting commentary in their “Bookends” feature from Anna Holmes and James Parker entitled “Who Gets to Tell Other People’s Stories?” When a writer creates a character outside the writer’s own race, gender, sexual orientation, income, and heritage, is the writer operating with empathy or…
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After one too many advances from her lecherous boss, Presley Thurman chucked her high-paying PR job and went back home to her small town, with the thought of pursuing freelance journalism. When a U.S. Senator turns up dead the day after she’s wrangled an interview with him, Pres feels compelled to solve the murder. Well, since whoever killed the senator seems to want her dead as well, she kind of has no choice.
Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner is the first book in the Presley Thurman series. It introduces a protagonist with spunk, humor, and determination, a strong female character who lives life on her own terms, but who can still experience the occasional heart-fluttering moment without losing her independence or identity. Pres has her faults, but you have to love her despite them.
The action is nonstop—well, almost—and the clues are there for all to figure out. See if you can identify the killer before Pres does. Dollars to donuts says you can’t do it.
Now, having gotten that out of my system, a few negatives. There’s too much head-hopping. Okay to show different characters’ points of view, but best to give each his or her own chapter. Care has to be exercised when switching from third to first person to avoid confusing readers. But, hey, it’s a first novel, and all first novels need work. When you’ve finished a book, it’s the character you remember, not the few grammatical glitches, and I can’t get Presley Thurman out of my mind, so I’m giving it three and a half stars.