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    8/12/2006
    Scoundrels.. able to leap tall buildings in a single scamp
    Can I talk about the scoundrels for a moment?


    Sometimes I don’t even understand the origin of my own ideas until it’s pointed out to me later. The scoundrels are a case in point. You may or may not know that in my non-writing life I’m a child and family therapist. Before I got my counseling degree, I was a child care worker, supervising and supporting kids who’d found their way into the foster care system.


    I was once told I’d be a child care worker until the day I died, but here’s the thing: I consider that a compliment. Some part of my head is always about kids. (See, Peter Pan isn’t such a stretch after all, and “I won’t grow up” is like a mantra to me.) **click here**


    When a colleague of mine read A Season to be Sinful, she commented on how much the scoundrels reminded her of a particular sibling group I worked with once upon a time. “It’s like you were channeling those boys,” she said. And I realized she was right, even though I hadn’t consciously thought of them once while I was writing. I thoroughly enjoyed those rascally boys. My colleague’s comment also reminded me why I write: I want happily ever after to be a sure thing. The foster care system isn’t exactly a breeding ground for HEA.

    One Forbidden Evening, though, only gave me an opportunity to visit the scoundrels. I was more interested in thinking about death. Yeah, I’m just a load of laughs.

    I mentioned this briefly in Tidbits on my website, and I’m not certain how much I really want to discuss it, but I can say that death and dying has always been something of a bugaboo to me. (Perhaps yet another reason not growing up has held so much appeal.)

    Outside of writing, I was breaking through on the bugaboo, and when I had an honest-to-God epiphany – with a family consultant of my own – I realized I could probably tackle a character who’d had a significant and recent death to deal with. I mean, I know it’s a romance, but it helps me if I can understand what might be going on inside a character’s head. And sometimes I discover that what’s going on with a character is what’s going on with me. Not in a big way, you understand, but in a subtle, skimming the surface kind of way. I’m not like any of my characters. I’m like all of them.

    I appreciated the comments about One Forbidden Evening’s dialogue and my attempts to set a tone for the book to keep it from being a contemporary set in Regency England. I’m sure my characters are speaking some sort of faux dialect, but in my head they always sound authentic. Cubic zirconia of the first water, as it were.


    Okay, let’s talk about the ending of One Forbidden Evening. Publisher’s Weekly said it was contrived. Sure, but then I contrived the whole book. Maybe I should have a contest. Call it: Write a Better Ending. You know, this idea is appealing to me. I’m so tired by the time I get to the end, I’m sure I’m rushing through it. There is part of me that just wants to be done. Should I be admitting this? Probably not, but there you have it.


    Sometimes when I see a movie, especially something in the action-adventure realm, I find that I’m willing to accept all manner of improbable things. But there is often a moment, usually toward the end of the film, when someone – the director, the writer, the special effects folks – pushes it just one step too far and I come out of the film and go, Oh, yeah, like that can happen.

    The most recent example I can think of was seeing Superman Returns. I am so there with the whole back story. I absolutely buy into the flying, red and green kryptonite, the fortress of solitude, x-ray vision, and truth, justice, and all that stuff. But when Lois Lane stops on her way to a fancy dinner to investigate a story on Lex Luthor’s yacht with her son in tow, I’m thinking, No way.


    Or earlier in the film when Supe has to save the plane that Lois is on, I haven’t a scintilla of doubt that he can do it, but when the oxygen masks drop and Lois is still pushing forward in the cabin trying to help someone, and she’s being tossed like a salad…well, she should have passed out from lack of oxygen and had some bruises and mussed hair to show for all the salad spinning.


    So I figure that maybe that’s a little bit like what happens in One Forbidden Evening. There is a willingness to suspend belief that Cybelline would act contrary to her upbringing, her judgment, and her morals in the first two chapters of the book and actually approach Ferrin with her unseemly proposition, but something about the ending made some readers go, Oh, yeah, like that can happen.


    I’ll have to give the problem of my endings some more thought, see what I can do to improve them. It’s a valid criticism, I think, and it’s been pointed out before. Trouble is, no one’s telling me how it could be different. Yep, the contest is definitely appealing to me.


    Maybe I bobble the endings because I don’t use an outline. I’m no good with outlines, though, so I don’t think that’s the answer. I’d love to hear your ideas. Really.

    - Jo Goodman
    4 Comments:
    1. I understand her pain with dial-up. That's what I'm on now - ick. When do we get to ask questions? Do we get to? When do we get to sqeal "fan girl here, fan girl here!" Cause of any author, I'm a fan girl of Jo Goodman.
      Or am I too late with questions? If I am can I ask some anyway? And I guess I can still make squealing fan girl remarks in the next installment.

      By Blogger Kristie (J), at 8/12/2006 03:44:00 PM  

    2. Hi Jo,

      I love the scroundrels and I know that it would be impossible to do a book on every secondary character that you have ever written about..what one secondary character are you dying to do a book on?

      By Anonymous Danielle, at 8/12/2006 03:48:00 PM  

    3. OK - I broke. question. I am among one of those getting so tired of English Historicals. Your books are an exception by the way. Are you planning anymore set in America like the Dennehy sisters or the last Thorne book? I know you have written a number of them in the past. I know there aren't many being published these days but of the ones that are I'm gobbling them up such as Pamela Clare's or Wendy Lindstroms. There are too few in these current times.
      Comments 1) I adore the Compass Club books. It's such a unique idea setting them in roughly the same time period. And I really enjoyed the tidbits on your website on how the idea came to be. Comment 2) I rate you right up there with the best of the best author wise. I wish you could get the credit that I think you so richly deserve. I think your writing is rich and detailed and your dialogue is wonderful. I have One Forbidden Evening although I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Everyone else was squealing about other books that were being released but I was most excited about yours.
      I'm not going to say write faster because that always annoys me when fans do that. I would rather have a book take a bit longer and be quality work than have two or three a year of lesser quality.
      See - I'm doing pretty good at this fawning business aren't I? I don't usually do it.

      By Blogger Kristie (J), at 8/12/2006 05:21:00 PM  

    4. Hey,

      I have no idea whether any of you will see this since this was so many days ago - and I was in some kind of time warp. Didn't even know when the 12th was. But thanks for all the nice comments. The secondary character I've been thinking about right now is Restell - Ferrin's step-brother. Probably not a surprise to anyone who knows how my mind works.

      Syb - my website is being updated as we speak but probably won't be ready for on line for a few more days. I hope people will take the time to read "Flamingos: A Love Story" - a more apt title would be "How I spent my summer vacation."

      I haven't thought yet about going back to America. I really enjoy the "Regency dialogue". If my editor points me back to the US - or I think of an interesting story/time period - I'm sooo there. I've sort of by dying to do an old-fashioned captive storyline - but, you know, with my flavorings.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/15/2006 05:55:00 PM  

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