Connie Briscoe is my special guest author today! Connie is the best-selling author of seven works of fiction, one novella, and one nonfiction book. She is currently enjoying a virtual book tour for her latest novel, Money Can’t Buy Love, with TLC Book Tours.
Money Can’t Buy Love is the story of Lenora Stone, a thirty-eight-year-old photographer with a demanding boss, decade-old car that needs numerous repairs, a condominium that is worth less than the balance of the mortgage, and a boyfriend who can’t seem to commit. Her luck suddenly changes when she wins five million dollars in the Maryland lottery. Lenora finds herself able to indulge in any extravagance she desires, including a mansion. Her boyfriend is miraculously ready to settle down and Lenora is welcomed into social circles where she was previously shunned. But when it appears that her ship has finally come in, the things that really matter to Lenora are still beyond her reach. With her life falling apart, despite her seemingly good fortune, Lenora has to evaluate whether the changes in her lifestyle are worth the toll they are taking on her life.
Losing Myself in My Characters
I write for many reasons, primarily because it allows me wonderful opportunities to express my thoughts and feelings. But one of the most rewarding reasons for writing, and one I sometimes forget about, is the ability to become different characters in a dream world of my own creation. That feeling of losing myself in my work is probably similar to what an actress experiences on the stage.
My favorite character to work with is often the villain, or as some would say, the “bitch.” These characters really allow me to step outside of myself. Take Jolene in my PG County series. Jolene is selfish and egotistical. When she wants something, she will stop at nothing to get it. Yet she is needy when it comes to men and she’s a great mom to her only daughter. She’s a complex character. Then there is Charmaine in the Sisters and Lovers series. She’s bold and brash but extremely loyal to her two sisters and other family members. Her weakness is a trifling husband who is an expert at causing Charmaine grief.
Finally, there’s Lenora in my latest novel, Money Can’t Buy Love. Lenora isn’t actually a villain. Yet her behavior is nothing like my own. She is fickle and at times downright foolish with money and men. I’ve had readers tell me they wanted to throw something at Lenora even as they were rooting for her to get her act together.
I love working with characters like this. I’m a no-nonsense, practical, straight shooter — most of the time, anyway —- and wayward characters like Jolene and Lenora give me a chance to act out — to be naughty, difficult, outspoken. They allow me to express thoughts and feelings on the page that I wouldn’t dare to show in real life. I find that fun and refreshing.
I named this blog post Losing Myself in My Characters but perhaps a more accurate title would have been Finding Myself in My Characters.
Connie’s first novel, Sisters and Lovers, sold more than 100,000 hardcover copies and about 500,000 copies in paperback, a fact about which she says she still pinches herself. Her other novels include You Only Get Better, Can’t Get Enough, PG County, and Big Girls Don’t Cry. Connie also pinches herself when she stops to contemplate the fact that her work has appeared on a large number of bestseller lists, including those of the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.
A Long Way From Home, the story of her ancestors, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She coauthored Jewels, a photo-essay book featuring such luminaries as distinguished actress Ruby Dee and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, with photographer Michael Cunningham. With Lolita Files and Anita Bunkely, she coauthored a collection of novellas.ed with Lolita Files and Anita Bunkley. Both of these were welcome changes from what I usually write.
Connie has generously provided a copy of Money Can’t Buy Love for me to award to one lucky Colloquium reader (selected at random)! So be sure to visit Colloquium tomorrow, Friday, July 22, 2011, to read my review of Money Can’t Buy Love and enter to win!