What a Character!

Hi there! How’s your Autumn going? Mine is great and busy–a lot of sitting in front of my laptop.

Right now, during this month of Gratitude, I’m so thankful for my family’s health in this time of strange viruses. I hope and pray your family is healthy. I’m also thankful for the new piano students my husband, Mike, has acquired since we moved. Although, I have asked for a set of noise-eliminating headphones for Christmas. 😊

I’m excited to let you know that I can reveal the cover to my upcoming published book – Relative Consequences. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Here is a peak at the cover.

The Subgenre of RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES is Mystery & Detective/Historical and the book listing will span several categories, i.e., contemporary women’s fiction, historical mystery fiction, southern mystery fiction, I am looking forward to a launch date and anticipating the ability to pre-order the book soon – first in eBook form then in Mass Market Paperback.


What do you think of when you hear someone described as a character? I have relatives that I consider real characters and I love them dearly. My grandmother Susie, rest her soul, was a unique woman. A tiny, little thing, she could outwork any man she arund her. During WWII, she held two jobs – one where she played the organ (like a church organ) in a restaurant lounge until late at night. She could play any tune you could name. Funny what you remember. She had a fondness for ceramic birds and she had an outhouse in her backyard. She was definitely a character, but a gentile southern lady.

My Aunt Dolores (my father’s sister) was also considered a character. With striking red hair, a fair complexion and freckled from head to toe, she stood about 5 ft. tall. Dolores never married and was a steadfast Catholic. I remember her laughter. She had one of those throaty laughs, unique and boisterous, which deepened as she continued to laugh. More often than not, she would laugh so hard she’d get choked up. Eventually, Daddy would have to slap her on the back in order for her to catch a breath. Of course, the several toddies she’d downed beforehand might have contributed to each extra-long fit of laughter. My father and his beloved sister would tell family stories when they got together. As a child, I loved hearing them speak of the good old days. Aunt Dolores would take the lead and the floor, always illustrating her point with broad hand gestures, and a pantomime or two, often with a hint of naughtiness. My Aunt Dolores was one fun lady!

Here a few of the definitions of the word character used as a noun and described in the Collins Dictionary (American English version):

  1. A distinct trait quality or attribute, characteristic
  2. Essential quality, nature, kind, or sort
  3. The pattern of behavior or personality found in an individual or group; moral constitution
  4. Moral strength, self-discipline, or fortitude
  5. Reputation or Good reputation
  6. Informal definition – such as an odd, eccentric, or noteworthy person
  7. The role portrayed in a play, book, or movie.

Let me introduce you to my protagonist or main character, Jessy Blanchard Tate in Relative Consequences. She’s definitely a character in every sense of the word. You first meet her in 2004, a retired schoolteacher living in North Atlanta with her husband Phillip. Attractive and looking young for her age, she stands about 5 ft. 1 in. tall with dark brown straight shoulder-length hair (almost black, courtesy of her hairdresser). As I wrote about her, I pictured her to be a shorter version of the actor, Anne Archer. (FYI. She played in her most recent movie in 2017 – Trafficked. I always liked her as Jack Ryan’s wife, Cathy in Clear and Present Danger (1994).

Being somewhat of a perfectionist, Jessy Tate always dresses well, never leaves the house without makeup, and prides herself in the appearance of her home. She loves to ride her horse, Nutmeg, and has a passion for creating jewelry out of seashells. Jessy has a few good friends but at the time you meet her, she maintains a social life that revolves around her husband and his colleagues, their church and neighborhood. She has a daughter, Gretchen and a granddaughter, Mimi.

Relative Consequences begins on October 24, 2004, the day Jessy buries her husband, Phillip. As the first chapter unfolds, you witness her emotional struggle at the reception. With the help of lots of wine and a satirical sense of humor, she seems to take everything in stride. Inside, she’s spinning, her coping skills eventually letting her down. She allows conflicting feelings of grief and guilt to consume her. Jessy, as a character, is a mess.

I know I created Jessy, but I have to admit…I like her. She’s a good person, extremely personable, a bit outspoken, but kind. Like a lot of folks we all know, she keeps a secret side. She’s definitely flawed and lets her emotions get the better of her.

Jessy loves her husband; although during the story, there are times you might think otherwise. Every now and then, her ambivalence illustrates hint at problems within their long-term marriage. However, when Phillip dies, Jessy is heartbroken and must deal with her problems all alone. Anxiety and old nightmares resurface causing her to search for truth among her memories. Once she decides to dig into the past to find answers to the questions that haunt her, the quest becomes an obsession.

See you next time when we will venture back into the 1956, when little towns kept big secrets. By that time, I hope to have a timeline for the book launch!

Thanks for stopping by…


Published by jodywritessouthern

Jody Herpin writes with a southern accent. Re-discovering her love of writing in the last ten years, she has completed her second novel, "Relative Consequences," and is currently researching her third. In 2015, Jody received First Place for Novel Submission at the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop for "Weather Permitting." In 2014, she received Third Place for the Microcosm Award at the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop for her piece, "View of a Lifetime." She's constantly reading, researching and soaking up knowledge about her craft. Born in Savannah, Georgia, she has lived most of her life in the South, attending Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia and living in Alabama, Georgia and North and South Carolina, Florida and Virginia. If she's not writing, she is decorating her home, attempting to paint with watercolors, reading, rediscovering the guitar, walking her Mini-Australian Shepherd, Bella, or cheering for her beloved Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Jody married the love of her life in 2014, and she and her husband, Mike Boggioni, a professional musician, live north of Atlanta, Georgia. She has two grown children and six amazing grandchildren all of whom live close enough "to holler at."

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