This week I have the honor of hosting Julie Seedorf, author of the Fuschia Minnesota Mystery series (also known as the Granny mystery series), the brand-new Brilliant Minnesota series, and the Granny’s In Trouble series for younger readers. She is also the author of Something About Nothing, a compilation of her newspaper columns. She is blogging today about Feeding her Dream.
Feeding The Dreamer
I love to write. It is my dream job. I have to pinch myself once in a while to make sure I am awake, because I love my career. I wanted to be an author for so long, but was afraid to try. Lo and behold by chance, and I believe a little divine intervention, Granny Hooks A Crook was born. Cozy Cat Press offered me a contract. I was gifted a new career.
There is one thing I love along with my writing and maybe a tad bit more, and that is putting smiles on people’s faces with my fantasies. One of the reasons I concocted such silly tales and made up places such as Fuchsia, Minnesota was to take people away from their real world for a short time. Our world can be a gritty world to live in.
The smiles and comments of my readers feed my writing. I want to feed their smiles and laughter and lighten their load.
We all have hills and valleys in life and my characters are no different in that respect. Granny (Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt) may seem far out and very forgetful in Granny Hooks A Crook, the first book in the series, but what you see is not always what you get. If you follow Granny through the series you learn more about her life and those of her family and neighbors. You get a glimpse into her foundation and the experiences that make her the crusty, feisty old woman she is.
I didn’t realize until later in life I felt constricted by all the man-made rules we have to live with every day in our communities. I remember the days when people could choose what to do with their properties and their homes before HOA’s. Fuchsia is a community I would love to live in. Both the town and Granny are a little bit of a satire on our beliefs on aging and what should happen in communities. Anything goes in Fuchsia as long as it doesn’t conform to society in the outside world of Minnesota.
I don’t usually model my characters on anyone I know except perhaps Granny. She has tones of my stubborn mom who died at 93. At 90 years old she was still climbing her roof repairing it, much to my dismay. I didn’t understand my mom but after creating Granny and getting into her head, I wish I could go back and cheer my mom on. I want that grit.
I create characters I like and would like to know and hang out with in real life, even the sinister ones. Everyone has a redeeming quality somewhere, although I don’t always find it in my villains. Maybe my readers do.
I felt I needed to take a little break from my Fuchsia Series and so I created the Brilliant Minnesota Series. The first book, The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors, will be out within the next month. I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to write the first book in the new series. With the first book in the Fuchsia Series I had no expectations.
The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors takes place in a neighboring town to Fuchsia. Brilliant Minnesota is very different from Fuchsia but the characters are as quirky. Jezabelle Jingle has ties to Fuchsia with her niece Delight Delure. Jezabelle is feisty, sweet, not quite as cantankerous as Granny, and is very good at roping her neighbors into getting into trouble. It seems the founders of Brilliant left a puzzle to be solved and Jezabelle’s neighborhood is spot on for mayhem and crooked shenanigans.
I found when starting this book my heart was invested in my characters in Fuchsia. It took me at least until the middle of the book before I had a good feel for each character and knew what their personalities would lend to the book. I don’t write like many authors. I have an idea and I begin writing, never knowing where the story is going to take me. It always works out. I can’t outline first. I have to do it after to make sure things fit, because when I outline first it stomps on my creativity and I feel constricted as I do with some of life’s real rules.
I love getting to know my readers and I love getting to know authors whom I have admired for years. I learn so much from all of them. Now I am working on my fifth Fuchsia Minnesota book, writing my column every week, Something About Nothing, and am enjoying life with my husband, my kids and grandkids and my two shysters, Boris and Natasha.
My advice is: If you have a dream, don’t let it go, you never know where it may take you.