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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Inescapable Style

I don't shop very often, especially not right now what with being a starving artist. But when I do shop, it's never adventurously. It doesn't matter the store or the season, I always gravitate toward the same wardrobe pieces. I like solid color t-shirts and jeans of every wash. Boots - cowboy boots and biker boots and riding boots and...if it comes above the ankle and has a heel on it, I'm all over it. I love a good leather jacket. Obnoxious sneakers. Hoodies and colorful socks. Bright gloves. Silver jewelry, pendants and dangling earrings. I'm not fashionable or on-trend, but I have my own style and it always proves inescapable.

The same is true of writing. I like the little things - the details that build intimacy. The quiet moments of burgeoning feelings when the characters do their soul searching. Imperfect aesthetics - old things, dirty things, broken things, uncool and improper things, but real things. Life is punctuated by moments of seeming perfection, but it is never perfect. I'm fascinated by hair and chipped nail polish, holes in jeans and, yep, well-loved leather jackets. My Walker Family series is a soundtrack of punk rock music that came to life on the page until all the jarring cynicism and hope, the electricity and the oddly soft moments of the songs I found inspiration in became the mindsets of my characters. Throw in a little sex and profanity and there you have it.

When I started writing Fix You, I knew that I was breaking up a marriage, and I knew Jessica wasn't going to take that lying down. The new man I tried to wedge into her life was the kind of guy I thought I should write. But he just wouldn't fit. So he was scrapped, and finally, the man I wanted to write came along. I didn't expect him, I hadn't intended him for Jess, but just like every pair of boots I ever wanted, he was a part of my inescapable style, and I realized that I needed him.

Because when it comes to characters, I like loyalty and humor, honesty and conviction, a history and spirit all their own. They are vet techs and track coaches, skateboarders and accountants, mothers and daughters and sons and brothers. They are tired and jaded and hopeful and thankful. Improper and uncool and punctuated by moments of seeming perfection. For me, they are inescapable.

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