When I was conjuring up Amanda as the other protagonist along with Rachel O'Neill in Midnight in Brussels, for in each novel there is an additional leading gal introduced, my mother's personality came to mind.
Selma Dearmore (my mother) was born in Arkansas, was the last of a hoard of siblings, spent much of her time alone with her paper dolls, telling stories and creating imaginary people, and drawing, and what have you, entertaining herself (much the same as I did as a young girl, amazing how that works).
Her mother, my grandmother, was an industrious sort ... had a cafe and millinery shop in the small town of Branch. In the '90s, after my father died, I took my mother back to her roots to a class reunion, first time she'd been back to Arkansas since she left after graduating high school. So I had the chance to see the boarded up shops and the blacksmith shop where my grandfather had fit horseshoes. We weren't sure which house was where she was raised, but we settled on one that was a short distance from town. But she remembered it as being much farther out, which we always do ... everything is bigger and farther in our memories.
Anyway, mother was a shy girl growing up, stayed pretty much to herself. She did have a couple of girlfriends in school (we saw one at the reunion) but that was pretty much it. And she had a boyfriend, who we also visited at the reunion. That was priceless. She sparkled when she talked to him and they held hands. Childhood romances, can't beat 'em.
But at age 18 mother went to beauty school and then married someone else because he said he was moving to California, where she had been wanting to go because all four of her sisters and her brother had gone. Well, husband didn't move to California, he moved to Little Rock with no intentions of going west. So, mother, packed her bag while he was at work one day, after nine months of marriage, and took off to California anyway where the rest of her family was already ensconced. She'd hitched a ride with other people who were going.
When I began delving into who my character Amanda was, again, I saw my mother at that age. Although my mother was shy and insecure, secretive, and kept pretty much to herself, she still had the balls and gumption enough to take action when it was necessary for her to do so. She was a survivor. She knew what she wanted and by god she was going to get it come hell or high water.
Same as Amanda.
See you tomorrow ...
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