I know I've been talking about the Brussels novel and Amanda, but let's shift today to the Eiffel novel and the character Shellie, for she's on my mind. She's in the second novel in the series - MIDNIGHT AT THE EIFFEL. Also a protagonist right along with Rachel - a different one to accompany Rachel in each novel remember, and this time it's Shellie.
Shellie is a 40-year old jazz singer who has never quite made it. She knows all the musicians and sits in with them at their gigs all over L.A., but hasn't had the break she's been searching for. She has a day job as a receptionist in a doctor's office. My mental picture of her came from that of one of my friends, who is still an aspiring singer/songwriter to this day, although her chances may have slipped by, for she isn't getting any younger. I say 'may' cause she's living in L.A. at the moment and you know, you never know when that right person may come along and snap you up ... I'm hoping she's still invited to sit in whenever and whereever she can. But it has always been her desire to live in Paris and sing. So there we go ... our Shellie has the same desire ... a coincidence?
I decided Shellie should be married but she would end up in Paris where she would meet Rachel O'Neill. They have a few things in common which will draw them together. So, how to get her there? Well, it didn't take long ... the story formulated almost immediately. I saw an Oprah show that day on TV about abusive relationships and with a stretch of the imagination and using some of my own experiences it all came to light.
But we must back up a few years when one of my ex's and I lived in Marina del Rey, California, in a high-rise apartment building with our docked 40' sailboat down below. 'Twas a great life. I loved it at first, but after a few months the relationship waned and began to fizzle.
Although my husband was not an abuser, not at all, one night after we were separated (I lived in the apartment, he lived on the boat) our paths crossed while we were out on the town in the marina. He was with a younger woman (who he later married, I think they married) and he was startled to see me in the same lounge (I was with a girlfriend from work, hadn't started dating yet). Since he'd been saying for weeks he wasn't interested in anyone else, he wasn't going out with anyone (didn't matter a hill of beans to me, by the way, if he was or not), he became irate. Told me to leave the establishment. I said no, I was there to hear the music and he couldn't tell me what to do. He and his party left.
About 30 minutes later, my galpal and I went down the street to my other favorite place in the marina - CLEM'S. Terrific bar/restaurant at the time with an incredible piano player - a showman, wore a keyboard scarf, was very flambouyant. Yikes, my ex was there too. This time it was worse, he was livid, so I left. Said goodbye to my friend and went home down the street to the apartment.
I went to bed. Next thing I knew, my ex was opening the apartment door with his key, and stumbled drunk into the bedroom insisting on husband/wife privileges. I said no, we weren't together anymore, said he should have gone home with his girlfriend. That triggered I don't know what. Pissed him off. He grabbed me by the legs and tried to force me to have sex with him. I got away, ran through the living room onto the balcony (14 floors up). He ran after me and pushed my head and shoulders back over the metal railing (hurt like hell), threatening to toss me on over. At first I struggled and screamed as he was trying to lift me over the railing. Then I just went limp, giving in to the death below. The look in his eyes revealed his intent.
Suddenly, he let me go and stepped back. I ran into the house, got my coat and purse and ran to the elevator. Rushed to the garage and drove across L.A. to Glendale where my galpal lived. I never went back to the apartment. My friends went after my things.
Sooooooooooooo ... I took some of that and heaped it onto Shellie, placed her in Marina del Rey where I had lived. Except her husband was certainly controlling and an abuser. A downright asshole, he was! Her escape to Paris, with the help of a friend, enabled her to flee a terrible situation and marriage and at the same time present music possibilities she didn't have in the States. The big fish in the little pond as opposed to the little fish in the big pond . . .
Anyway ... that's how Shellie was created. There's more to her backstory, of couse, there always is. You'll love her. Whereas Amanda is tall, blond and slender, Shellie is a petite little gal, looks like the girl on the cover of the book.
Okay, that's it for today ... more tomorrow about the writing of my books.
Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.