“You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head,” said Charles Dodgson’s Alice in Alice in Wonderland. “But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
When I dreamt up Gina Malone, the main character in my mystery novel How To Murder a Marriage, she was a sort of alter ego for me. A Super Me, which was super fun to write. She embodies all the traits that I like best about myself but she is more and better than I am. I consider myself to be reasonably brave and strong but Gina is braver and stronger. I’m only slightly adventurous—I’m an introvert who loves being on my hundred-acre farm, curling up next to the woodstove with my pets and books and a steamy cup of chamomile.
Gina, on the other hand, spends time alone in her secluded lakeside cottage throwing back whiskey neats and thwarting stalkers who are threatening her life.
I created the ultimate best gal pal in Gina Malone, and I want to be just like her. If I can’t, then I’ll settle for hanging out with Gina as much as I possibly can and hope that a little of her magic rubs off on me. She’s the cool kid that I aspire to be and some may think that I have taken my admiration for her a few steps too far. I can hear my long-deceased father’s scolding voice, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge does that mean you should jump too?”
Uhhh… Yeah, I guess I’ll follow Gina Malone wherever she goes.
I describe my situation as ‘life imitating art imitating life’ because that sounds better than lemmings following lemmings off a cliff. I created a character, Gina, who leapt off the page, entertaining and influencing me and I, lemming-like, am now basically living my character’s life—We’re not talking straitjacket territory, but perhaps we’re in the vicinity.
Two years ago, when I sat down to write my book How to Murder a Marriage, the first mystery in a new series that just published November 9, the last thing on my mind was moving from my much-loved home. I’d lived on a beautiful farm outside the cosmopolitan city of Toronto for thirty years. In the book, I had my main character Gina leave a farm exactly like mine and move three hours north of Toronto to a picturesque tourist town on the stunning shores of the Great Lake Huron. Gina took up residence in the small beach town in an old family cottage that needed a ton of work and she set about renovating it.
A few months ago, I shocked my family and friends when I listed for sale my beloved farm and pulled up stakes to relocate north to the exact town I had sent Gina to. I purchased a tiny white cottage nearly identical to the one I had described in my book and moved my main character into. Surprise—It needed a ton of work and I’m currently renovating my sweet 1930s cabin that sits on the shores of Lake Huron, just like Gina’s does.
I need to get original or maybe therapy.
I have to say I am loving it in Gina’s hometown, moving here was a good decision for me as it was for her. I’m just hoping the similarities between us end there. I’m not looking to become the whack job magnet that Gina describes herself as and find myself fending off stalkers, as she does, or worse having to deal with the even bigger problems Gina experiences in Book 2, which I’m currently writing, where she’s dodging vengeful murderers. On the other hand, Gina does hire a hot Jeffrey Dean Morgan type contractor to reno her cottage so I’m on the lookout for that happy possibility.
Hope you enjoyed Gina’s guest post as much as we did. Read her interview with us here.