Okay, so, I was again invited by the super quirky Stacey Graham to participate in another meme! This one’s theme? Meet My Character! (Who hears game music? Is it just me?)
Anyway, I’m not totally ready to share the characters from my WIP, so I thought I’d go back to my most recent pubbed book: AUSTENSIBLY ORDINARY. I miss those guys!
So, here we go with… MEET THE CHARACTER!
1.) What is the name of your character?
Cate Kendall, but at one point in the story, she’s going by Cat Kennedy. She has her reasons.
2.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Totally fictional. She is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse, who is also a fictional character.
3.) When and where is the story set?
The story is set in modern day Austin, Texas, with a short side trip into the Texas Hill Country.
4.) What should we know about him/her?
Cate is a high school English teacher who lives in an apartment above her divorced mother’s garage. She plays Scrabble every Sunday night with fellow high school teacher, Ethan Chavez, who manages to find something wrong with every guy she’s dating. She yearns for excitement and romance…and a big boost out of the rut she thinks she’s stuck in.
Her wish is about to come true, courtesy of fairy godmother Jane Austen.
5.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Cate discovers a magical journal that channels the matchmaking spirit of Jane Austen. Basically it writes back to her, offering up life and love advice. Yeah, it’s a lot. And she struggles.
Initially, she doesn’t have a clue about the Jane Austen or matchmaking components. In fact, she ridiculously assumes that the messages in the journal are involving her in some sort of cloak and dagger situation. But eventually, it all works out.
6.) What is the personal goal of the character?
Her overarching goal is to find her own Mr. Darcy. (Mixing allusions: Emma/Darcy, I know, but it all works out in the end. Trust me.)
Smaller goals include trying to ferret out the secrets coworker/Scrabble God Ethan Chavez is keeping, injecting a little excitement into her life, and sleuthing out the mysteries of the magical journal.
7.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
There’s actually a done-deal title, and it’s AUSTENSIBLY ORDINARY. (FYI…that is not the correct spelling of the word ‘ostensibly’.)
8.) When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?
AUSTENSIBLY ORDINARY was published at the end of January 2013, so a little bit ago. It’s still available though…
And it’s chock full of Jane Austen and Hitchcock allusions, ghost-hunting, spy talk, scheming, plotting, mystery and adventure! And (of course!) a healthy dash of romance. So what are you waiting for??
Here’s a short excerpt to pique your interest…
Sitting here under the brightly decorated Japanese lanterns I’d convinced my mom we should string up under the oaks, the possibilities seemed endless, the world glowing—I just needed to hold on to this feeling and find a way to have a little adventure. It couldn’t be anything too risqué—one amateur videographer with a camera phone was all it took for things to get very hairy indeed. A good friend of mine had learned that the hard way. I needed a buffer, a way to keep my real, respectable everyday life separate from a little after-hours adventure.
An alter ego would be perfect…sort of a secret identity. I could be the kind of girl who would wear red lipstick and a secret smile and agree to a “friends with benefits” arrangement without batting an eye. Or maybe batting them madly…
“Want me to order the pizza?”
My gaze whipped back to Ethan, his face fringed in shadow as he searched his phone for the number of the pizza place. I blinked rapidly, trying to get my thought processes back on track, hoping the darkened twilight hid the flush in my cheeks and the nervous whites of my eyes.
“Knock yourself out,” I finally agreed.
As we waited for the pizza and I considered, and discarded, a number of ‘alternative’ options, opportunity e-mailed an invitation.
Derring-Do and Savoir Faire…
presented by Pop-up Culture
Join us for an evening inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock.
Suspense, my dears, is key, and so the evening’s menu must remain a mystery…
The cast of characters: charismatic men, intriguing women,
And glamorous, grown-up drinks.
When? Sunday, All Hallow’s Eve, 9:00 p.m.–midnight
Where? Location to be revealed on confirmed reservation
Entrée? $40, suggested donation
RSVP to this e-mail address by Tuesday, October 26
Chills edged up my arms as I scrolled through each consecutive line. This was it! A perfect departure from my bookish, Darcy-obsessed self.
Pop-up Culture was the current business venture of my good friend/bad influence Syd Carmelo and fellow food junkies Olivia Westin and Willow Burke. It was a sort of culinary underground, hosting über-cool, invitation-only “pop-up” events all over the city. Austin was cooler than ever. I’d been on the mailing list from Day One, but had yet to make it to an event—I had either a parent conference, a family commitment…or a long-standing Scrabble match. I ended up getting the details with the rest of the city in the paper’s Lifestyle section. Halloween was only a week away. And this time, I was going.
Not as myself, though. I was in the mood for a little “mysterious.”
Maybe I’d be a Hitchcock blonde…with a long, slow smile and a whiff of suggestion. The blond aspect, I had covered. The rest might require a little practice. I hurried to RSVP before I could lose my nerve. Next Sunday… I glanced at Ethan, who was randomly arranging tiles on the Scrabble board. Sundays were currently reserved for my “friend sans benefits.” I could either ask him to go with me or I could strike out on my own. Chances were we’d be done with Scrabble in plenty of time for me to transform myself into a blond bombshell.
And now, passing the torch, I’m tagging Beth Cato, who has a new book out!! And Barrie Summy who will shortly have a new book out! Whoo-hoo! Both look awesome, so definitely check them out! Beth and Barrie will be posting their Meet the Character chats on September 29th. Here’s a little bit about them…
Beth Cato’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER, a steampunk fantasy novel from Harper Voyager. Her short fiction is in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Daily Science Fiction. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat.
Barrie Summy is the author of the I So Don’t Do
mystery series starring thirteen-year-old detective Sherry Holmes Baldwin. She’ll be blogging about Raine, the protagonist in her next middle-grade mystery, The Disappearance of Emily H.
(May 12, 2015
, Delacorte Press). Barrie lives in Southern California with her husband, their four children, two dogs, a veiled chameleon, and a fish. There was once a dwarf hamster, but let’s not go there. You can visit her online at barriesummy.com
and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.