To Maintain & Sustain

Happy September to all! Don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to autumn with its cool evenings and mild days.


In a recent blog, think it was July, I described one of the writing tools I create when preparing to write a novel—the Character Personality Worksheet. This device aids in the development of all prominent and secondary characters in the story. In my current work-in-progress, Lies in the River, the main character’s name is Millicent Campbell (yes, I’ve remained her again).

Let me tell you a little about Millie.

You meet Millie in 1980. She is an attractive, single, thirty-year-old single woman, the oldest daughter of Maura and Angus Campbell who have five children. She grew up in Sequoyah, Georgia, a small town in the North Georgia Mountains. She has chestnut-brown hair and sultry dark brown eyes. She’s intelligent, standing 5’5” tall, and weighing 135 lbs. She has an oval face, fair skin, a petite nose, and dark brown eyebrows. She’s in love with a six-month-old puppy, a beagle named after Carly Simon.

Millie is a bit bossy, somewhat overconfident, and always knows a better way to do just about everything. She’s persistent, curious, sometimes sarcastic, and has an acute, yet annoying, ability to size people up. The best friend anyone could have, she will keep your secret. She has a hearty belly laugh and bears a kooky sense of humor. Keeping her life simple, she enjoys a beer and a baseball game with friends, a special guy or a particular beagle by her side. Most of the time, she holds her emotions in check. Favorite midnight snack – Praline Pecan Ice Cream with shortbread cookies.

This is but a small sample of info from Millicent Campbell’s worksheet. I constantly refer to the document as I work on my novel, helping me to stay true to the character. Another one of Millie’s traits is stubbornness, which fuels her reluctance to heal old wounds with her mother. The older Millie gets, the more tension seeps into the relationship.

MAINTAIN or SUSTAIN? The definitions read as follows:

to keep in an existing state; to preserve from failure; to uphold and defend a position; to continue or persevere in; to carry on.

Sustain:  to give support or relief to; to supply with sustenance; to nourish; to keep up; to prolong. In life we choose to maintain and sustain every day.

I try to maintain my houseplants. Unfortunately, I do not possess a green thumb. I firmly believe they grow in spite of me. The only survivors are usually philodendrons and my beloved African violets. No matter how neglectful I am, those guys keep on keeping on. However, I am in charge of their care (when I don’t forget). I maintain them, making sure they remain in their existing state and try not to murder them. I also must sustain them by watering and fertilizing the soil and giving them plenty of sunlight. Luckily, I have a perfect floor-to-ceiling window in my great room.

As the story unfolds in Lies in The River, Millie Campbell experiences a catastrophe that has the power to leave irrecoverable damage to her family and the town of Sequoyah, the home she had left behind. While attempting to solve a developing mystery set deep in the North Georgia Mountains, Millie must also find a way to maintain and sustain her loved ones in their time of need.


Don’t forget to sign-up for my quarterly newsletter, Jody’s Journal on my website, The next edition comes out on November 22, 2022. Here is the link to the August edition.

Please check out my current novel, RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES, available on the following:

BookShop –
Amazon –
Barnes & Nobel –
BookBub –
Walmart –
Kobo –

See you in October!

Thanks for visiting,


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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