I tend to have my characters start off with a big change. In Getting to Third Date, Katelyn goes to college, in my Salem Witch series, Pru has to change coasts, schools and her whole way of living. In my yet-to-be-irrevocably titled nanny book coming out next fall, my character has to get used to living with a whole new (strange) family -- and being responsible for a pair of headstrong twins. In the book I just handed off, after yet another round of revisions, someone dies and someone doesn't (which may be the biggest change of all).
Writers tend to notice the themes they write about after a few books. And then, of course, ask why. My why is pretty easy to uncover -- as I child I never lived in one place more than a few years. I was born in Charleston, SC while my father was still finishing college at the The Citadel. After he graduated and got a job, my parents moved out to a suburb called Goose Creek (really!). And then, for the biggie, when I finished first grade (and when my youngest sister was 6 weeks old), we moved twelve hours north to Delaware. After three years, my dad was transferred to SC (Florence, this time). We stayed there for four years -- but I went to three schools because I did 5th and 6th grade at the elementary school across the street, my first year of junior high at the in-town junior high and then was bussed for eighth grade to the big new school on the outskirts of town. It wasn't until we moved back to Delaware that I finally stayed put...for four years, at least, until I went to college and began the ritual of moving dorm and apartment almost yearly until my husband, daughter and I ended up in Maine, at last. We've been here twenty years. Longer than I've lived anywhere (my husband lived in his family home from birth to twenty, so he's just even).
So, naturally, when my youngest graduated high school, I noticed I was itching to change my circumstances (moving house is the best way to clean and organize *ever*). DH can't move, he's got a job that needs him here (bummer, dude). So my compromise? I'm headed here:
Yep. Really. I'm only going for six weeks...at first.... But I'm going to look for work writing for TV. Wish me luck!
Oh...and the Murphy's law part? There are certain things I know about my life, and one is that I always pick the longest line. Always. I always get the wrong order at the drive-thru window if I don't check before I drive away. And my timing at stop lights and traffic circles -- and really, for anything -- is almost always off.
Like now. When I have the plane tickets. The place to stay. Two fabulous conferences to go to. Friends who will go out to lunch with me (or so they say). It is "Houston, we have a go!" ...except that it looks like the WGA is going to strike (that's the writer's union for film and television writers). And strikes mean you can't work (or if you do you're a scab, and I wouldn't do that because I think unions do mostly good things).
Now, one thing I know about Murphy's Law. It has taught me a lot through the years (patience, the proper way to proceed through a four-way stop when you all get there at once, and which checkout clerk to always avoid at the grocery store). So, what is it teaching me this time? I'm really not sure. I suspect it has something to do with making contacts (everything about work in Hollywood is about contacts -- my personal skill at making and following up contacts is dreadful). I suspect this trip will be all about meeting people and then (horrors!) remembering them by face and name and following up with friendly reminders that I want to write for them.
Or maybe it's another lesson altogether. Guess I'll figure it out after I come back (which won't be until December). I'll let you know then.
Until then, though, here's the game plan: meet as many people as I can who can hire me (or know some one who knows someone who may be able to hire me). I have one ultimate connection goal in mind: meeting Rob Thomas (the Veronica Mars Rob Thomas, not the singer Rob Thomas). Did you know he was a Simon Pulse author, too? I just read his Rats Saw God and loved it. So now he's my new (imaginary) BFF. You have to understand, everything in Hollywood is connection -- and Rob and I have a major connection, don't you think? We both wrote for Simon Pulse (sure, there's a gap where he became a big wheel writer-producer and I...didn't...but really, what's a small gap between writer-house-buds?).
Having put that out into the universe, another writer might expect to run into Thomas and be instantly taken under his wing because of the deep, profound and unbreakable connection. I, however, count on Murphy. This is how my brush with Rob Thomas with go:
Starbucks. Line out the door. Oblivious woman reads book in line as it slowly crawls forward. Man bumps into her as he carries out a Venti Mocha Latte.
WOMAN (looks up from book and smiles faintly)
Man walks away.
GUY IN LINE BEHIND WOMAN
Hey, wasn't that Rob Thomas?
WOMAN WITH GUY IN LINE BEHIND WOMAN
That Veronica Mars guy? Yeah. I hear he's bringing back Cupid.
Woman shoos away a bee and keeps reading. Line moves forward. Woman orders a Venti Caramel Macchiato. EXITS.