Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Heather Haven - Pitfalls of Creation

I’m in the process of creating a protagonist for a new humorous mystery series, called Persephone Cole And Halloween: Colder Than A Witch’s Mitt. Getting to know a person — even a fictitious one — takes time, thought, energy, trial and error. Sometimes they get pissed off and you don’t know why. Sometimes they laugh when you think they should cry. You thought they’d like bagels in the morning but they don’t. A living, breathing character, even one on paper, has a will of his or her own. It’s maddening.
It brings to mind the latest of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Death Runs in the Family, which came out last week. One of the central characters takes off for Rio de Janeiro, just like that, out of the blue. I mean, excuse me? I don’t know anything about Rio de Janeiro. I’ve never been to Rio de Janeiro. I’m sure it’s a terrific place, but come on; I’ve got a novel to write. Then this character has the effrontery to park herself in Ipanema, a fancy schmancy beachside community, and at a pretty posh place. What now? So I did scads of research, which took me weeks and weeks, cursing the day this character was born, even though I birthed her. Some kids are really ungrateful.
Thank Gawd, Lee Alvarez, the protagonist for the Alvarez Family series, has never betrayed me like this…yet. I’m waiting. I need to be careful. Every now and then Lee does something I’m not expecting her to do. She isn’t your typical protagonist and it’s starting to worry me. She’s funny, impulsive, smart, talented, loves dancing, handbags and a good joke. She knows her own worth, but has moments of self-doubt. She also has a mind of her own. These are all recipes for danger for the wretched author.
Agatha Christie hated Hercule Poirot. She wanted to dump him like crazy, unwrite him, banish him. She was sick and tired of him going his way when she wanted him to go hers. Like Arthur Conan Doyle, she even killed him off. But Holmes came back four years later and I suspect Poirot is wandering around London searching for an unsuspecting author to give him voice. I say, be careful England’s writers. Avoid any egg-shaped little guy with a mustache.
But back to me and my characters. I keep creating these strong women with minds of their own who breathe disdain for anyone who tells them what to do. Pity this poor novelist. I’m in for it, I can tell.
Death Runs in the Family Blurb
Lee Alvarez’ ex-husband, Nick -- a man she divorced with joy in her heart and a gun in her hand – sprints back in her life only to disappear again. She’d love to leave it at that, but could he be responsible for the recent death of her cousin, who keeled over at the finish line of a half-marathon in front of hundreds of spectators? As PI for the family run business, Discretionary Inquiries, Lee follows the clues to Vegas, where she joins forces with Shoshone PI, Flint Tall Trees. Together they uncover a multi-million dollar betting syndicate, a tacky lounge lizard act, and a list of past but very dead runners, plus future ones to off. At the top of the ‘future’ list is the love of her life, Gurn Hanson. Hoping to force the culprits out in the open, Gurn and Lee’s brother, Richard, vow to run San Francisco’s famous Palace to Palace footrace in only a few days. Can Lee keep the two men she loves from hitting the finish line as dead as her cousin? With more at stake than she ever dreamed possible, Lee is in a battle against time to stop the Alvarez Family’s 12K race with death.

Buy page for Death Runs in the Family: http://tinyurl.com/87fbjn3

Heather's blog at: http://tinyurl.com/4nensnp


  1. Funny post Heather! Thanks for a giggle with my morning coffee:) Yes the characters do have a way of becoming far too independent from their creators at times, but at least it never gets boring. And think of all the new information we absorb:)

    Just finished the first in the Alvarez series, Murder Is a Family Business, and I thoroughly loved it! Working on a review and looking forward to the next one, A Wedding to Die For, then Death Runs in the Family!

    Hugs, Sara

  2. Fun post. I like your MC already. Never try to pin down a strong willed woman. They might end up smacking their author upside the head, and they sure are trouble. Just think of the surprises she gives you, lol.

    Sounds like a great read. I'm on it.

  3. Thanks, Marva, for hosting me and thank you, ladies, for your comments. This is so fun!!

  4. Thanks for highlighting your latest edition in the Alvarez series.

    I've read the first two already and look forward to Lee's new adventures in the world of crime. Fashionably attired, of course.

  5. I guffawed outloud sitting at my desk when I read the title of your WIP. You MUST get control of your characters, Woman. What's up with that? Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean. And don't you hate it when they wake you up out of a sound sleep with another crazy idea??? Loved your previous Alvarez mysteries. Picking this intriguing one up now!

  6. You could have fooled me regards Rio. From your vivid description, I was green with envy over your ability to fly all over the globe at will. lol
    I hope folks are picking Death up by the droves. It's one of the best books I've read this year, bar none.
    I'm on my way early tomorrow to meet my new medical team, who are bound and determined they're going to help my beat this cancer thing. I vote for that, big time! Cheers, all!

  7. Gee. Heather Haven birthed two strong-willed women heroines. Imagine that. I'm so surprised. Not.

  8. I loved reading this fun insight into the workings of a writer. Thank you Heather. I envy you your wilful characters. Mine are curled up nice and cosy and won't move till I give them a swift kick up the butt. Then they retaliate and have me running for cover.

    I'd wish you Luck with the latest book in your series, but it is very clear you don't need luck. Congratulations.

  9. My gosh! My cup runneth over! Thank you all so very much! And frankly, comments by such fine writers as yourselves means a helluva lot!