My journey with Peri and her friends

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Archive for October, 2008

She’s ba-a-ack

Posted by Gayle on October 25, 2008

Kat emailed me today to say she’s done with the first two items on her to-do list, which means she’s ready for the third task – editing my book. Getting an email from “Senior Editor” is like finding a Glen Ivy gift card in my stocking on Christmas morning. Yay!

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Who is Peri Minneopa?

Posted by Gayle on October 15, 2008

I had been joking for quite awhile about a private eye named Peri Menopause, who solved every case by crying, eating chocolate, and bitch-slapping everyone until someone confessed. I figured she’d bat a thousand with that approach. But when it came time to actually write a murder mystery, I didn’t want such a caricature. You just don’t get as many miles on stick characters.

First, I had to come up with another last name. There is a general rule that your protagonist should not have a difficult name, but I decided that it would be a funny gag if she did. It could be a running joke, that people would mangle her name a million different ways – including ‘Menopause’.

So I spent a lot of time googling different words and spellings that could be mangled into “menopause”. At last, I found ‘Minneopa’ – a creek and a state park in Minnesota (www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/minneopa/index.html). It’s a Dakota word, but I really didn’t want Peri to be from Native American roots, because I wasn’t prepared to deal with any subplots about her heritage. It would have meant research into the Dakota tribe(s), and I was already doing research about what a severed hand looks like, and sometimes I’m just lazy. Because the park is in Minnesota, I decided to make Peri’s family Scandinavian, figuring that if their Viking ancestors stole the Dakota lands, they probably stole their names, too.

So Peri is tall, blonde and blue-eyed, just like Ingrid Bergman, or Ann-Margaret… or Hans Christian Anderson. She’s fifty years old and used to clean houses for a living. She still likes cleanliness, so her house is immaculate, and going into Benny Needles’ messy house makes her skin crawl.

When I began Freezer Burn, I really didn’t know much more than that about Peri. I wanted her to be sassy and independent, which have turned out to be her strengths and her weaknesses. She is curious and willful – this works for her when she is reaching for a goal, but when she cannot temper that with caution, it puts her into danger.

I thought long and hard about how to let the reader know who Peri is. I hate to “jump into” a character in a book. No offense to Patricia Cornwell, who I really like as an author, but the first Kay Scarpetta book I read (All That Remains) kind of hit me in the face with Kay getting all weepy at the mention of her ex-boyfriend’s name. I wasn’t ready to cry with Kay.  So I tried to let Peri’s emotions and beliefs build thru the book, like layers. I introduced the subplot about her personal life to let the reader find out about who Peri is – at least, who Peri thinks she is.

You see, one of the things I wanted to do with Peri was to show a 50-year old woman who thinks she knows who she is and what she wants, and then turn that supposition on its head. I hope I did it correctly, and I hope my readers like it.

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The latest scoop…

Posted by Gayle on October 10, 2008

Kat emailed me the other day to tell me that 1) she’s busy working on the Eppie Awards, 2) she still has one project ahead of mine, and 3) she’ll get back to me when the dust has settled.

In the meantime, I keep writing – and building blog spots.

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A new day, a new blog site

Posted by Gayle on October 10, 2008

I decided to try hosting my book news on wordpress. The blog manager supplied with my website just isn’t cutting it.  I can’t get it to do the things I need, like supply people with an RSS feed, post the latest entries on other sites, etc.

I’m going to attempt to import my previous blogs to this site. If I am unsuccessful and you want to read about how I wrote Freezer Burn, got the book deal, etc, visit http://www.gaylecarline.com/geeblog.html.

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