One thing that happens when you’re sick for awhile is you get a chance to read. A lot.
Recently, reading a mystery novel, mostly absorbed in the story (the writer was a bit self-conscious, so I wasn’t totally able to lose myself, my suspension of disbelief only partially lifted), I was dropped completely out of it when a character, driving a rental car, wondered what time it was. Hmmm. When was the last time you rented a car that didn’t have a clock on the dashboard?
Was the author cheating a bit? Ignoring the fact that most cars these days have clocks so the character wouldn’t know how much time was passing? So we wouldn’t know?
I felt manipulated. Then I realized… I’ve cheated readers too! Sometimes it’s just too easy to conveniently shift reality a bit to make something in the plot work a little better.
I use mostly real places in my novels. In my most recent Rollin RV Mystery, the main character goes into the ladies’ room at a rest stop about seven miles inside the California border along Interstate 8. There really is a rest stop there. I’ve stopped at it.
It’s got the same wide, sandy parking area I described in the book, but the real bathrooms are more like single vault toilets than the common room with individual stalls I invented for the book.
I thought a long time about changing that scene to reflect the actual rest area, but no matter how I tried to re-envision it, the scene had to happen the way it does in the book, and the only way that was possible was to change how the bathroom was laid out.
[Did you catch the “cheater”image in this post? The stuffed animal pic might look like the one on the cover of “Yuma Baby,” but it’s a different toy. See how easy it is to twist things even a little?]
Many thanks to Sherry Fundin for her wonderful review of Yuma Baby! I did my little happy dance to see how much she relates to Betty and Walt Rollin, and to see a comment from a reader who remembers the characters — a goal of every writer 🙂
If you’d like to see what Sherry has to say, here’s the link to her Fundinmental blog.
Don’t forget to follow her blog or subscribe to e-mail alerts so you won’t miss her reviews on all kinds of terrific books!
[Curious about Yuma Baby? Click the “About Ellen’s Books” image on the right or the “Books” link at the top of the page for more info on this and all of Ellen’s books.]
“She’s done it again. Ellen Behrens has created a can’t- put-this-book-down mystery,” writes Marcella Gauthier in her review of Yuma Baby for the Escapees Magazine.
This review means more to me than most because it’s by a fellow RVer for fellow RVers. The Escapee RV club has (so I’ve heard) about 50,000 members all over the country, and I’m happy to be among them. But when Marcella called me “a favorite author of the RVing community,” in her column, I glowed.
Writers are advised to imagine the ideal reader while we’re writing, and it’s helped me. Several readers have told me they feel as though I’m Betty (I’m not, though we’re pretty similar in some ways) and that I’m “talking” just to them (I am). RVers have sent notes and posted reviews saying they appreciate the details of their RVing lives finding a way onto the page, because so few other novels do this, so few other characters in fiction are RVers.
All of this is to say that I’m humbled every time someone sends an e-mail, stops me at an RV park, or writes a review saying they enjoyed reading about Walt and Betty and their Rollin adventures.
It’s easy to lose heart when you spend so much of your energy inside your own head, wondering if anyone will understand the words the come out, much less enjoy them.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Click here to read the first two chapters or click the “Books” option above, then “Yuma Baby” for more info on the book.
Wondering what’s behind the Rollin RV Mystery series? It’s possible you have some of the same questions cj paterson at Lyrical Pens had for me.
Check out the interview and — even better — check out her books, an excellent series mixing romance, suspense, and plenty of action!
Many thanks to cj petterson for her gracious invitation and great questions!
UPDATE! Yuma Baby is now available for your preferred e-reader — just $2.99! To make it easy (I know you can’t wait to download it :)) here are the direct links to the major e-book sites and to the print version (just $9.95 plus shipping):
Walt and Betty Rollin are back! They’ve decided to winter in southern Arizona, thinking they can relax in the sunshine until they get the call from Ohio telling them their third grandbaby has arrived so they can fly into the snowy north.
Of course, it’s never that easy for Walt and Betty. Read more about this newest Rollin RV Mystery on the Yuma Baby page — even download the first two chapters to try it out for free!
The news gets better!
Continue reading “Yuma Baby is Here!”