So glad to see March. Thank you, Mother Nature! Trees are blooming, bulbs are bursting, and cool mornings turn into warm afternoons. However, even that ever-present strong woman is flawed. Mother Nature has to taint her beauty with all that ugly yellow-green pollen causing us allergy-prone people to sneeze, blow and wheeze.
Fictional characters, like humans, are flawed, and the more complicated the better. Imperfect characters carry the story, while piquing your interest and satisfying your curiosity. In my novel, RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES, the main female characters—Jessy Tate and Rita May McAfee—epitomize strong women who are blemished in different ways.
I’d like to welcome Grace Sammons. Grace is an author, radio host, entrepreneur, and educator. Recognized in “Who’s Who in Education” and “Who’s Who in Literature,” Grace utilized skills built up over decades to re-invent herself with her award-winning fourth book and debut novel – The Eves. Always committed to creative collaborations, Grace is the founder of Author Talk Network; a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers’ Association (WFWA) and the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). She is the Director of Membership for one of the fastest-growing reader/writer online communities “Bookish Road Trip.” She currently lives on Florida’s west coast with her husband and a small herd of imaginary llamas.
STRONG WOMEN, WARTS AND ALL by Grace Sammon
When it comes to novels, I love flawed characters. They endear themselves to us and enrage us all at the same time. You know who they are – those characters that can’t get out of their own way as they stumble through the plot.
In my novel, The Eves, Jessica Barnet is broken – read this as majorly flawed. She has given up on herself, her looks, her career, and renovations to her Washington, DC townhome – but not her lies or her vodka. That is until her bossy friend, Sonia Cortez, tells her “Jessica, I saw you today, you refused to put your hand in the paint and leave your mark on the wall. I –am – too—tired—of—you. This hiding from the world stops today. You will write about the women we met.”
Thank goodness for bossy friends in novels and in life. Together we are better. Together we find our way. This month, Women’s History Month, is a good time to shine a light on the power of sisterhood and the role it plays in our lives. True sisterhood comes with three things – an absolute faith in the friendship, patience, and, as in the case of Jessica and Sonia, absolute honesty. Sonia knows all of Jessica’s secrets and is patient with her – until she is not. She then pushes Jessica beyond her comfort zone and into a world of colorful women and women of color whose stories propel Jessica into the delightfully uncharted waters of listening and learning from women whose stories can reach back hundreds of years and still touch today.
The Eves is a book within a book, with Jessica gathering the oral histories of “the oldies.” As Jessica writes, she begins to understand that when our stories are told, everything changes. But it is not only Jessica’s story that changes as she finds her footing and sets out on a new path of reinventing herself. Indeed, each of the characters in this Southern Maryland community develops and changes. What amazed me in the writing of The Eves is that my story changed as well. Jessica, this flawed character and the magnificent (and to be honest, also flawed) characters taught me that I am not done.
With The Eves, my fourth book, complete, I thought I was ready to sail into retirement. But Jessica and “the oldies” had another idea. Two years later my life has blossomed in unexpected ways from becoming a radio host of two shows, to teaching a course on writing, to having three books on writing craft coming out this spring. This is not hearsay, as Jan in The Eves would say. This is the truth. A surprising truth.
So, what changed and what changes each of us? How do we go from “being done” to determining the mark we will leave on the world? The change comes from hard conversation, and fun ones, and from listening to each other and ourselves. As we stand here in Women’s History Month, we stand solidly on the shoulders of amazing women, some famous, some not. We stand because we first crawled and reached for the hems our mothers skirts as they pulled us up to join them. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with family and friends – bossy and otherwise. We stand accountable for our strengths and our flaws – as they said back in the 1600’s, “warts and all.”
This is a month to recognize famous women and the marks they have left on the world. It’s also a time to celebrate those that help us make our own history, just as we help them make theirs. In novels, it’s easy to cheer on those flawed characters, or to yell at them in our heads hoping they can see the perfect path through the plot. It’s not as easy to be accepting and supportive and patient with others, or ourselves. That’s where the hard and honest conversations come in. As I look at what’s next for me, and as we celebrate Women’s History Month and the women in our own lives, I’m going to work on those things – acceptance, support and patience – warts and all.
To find out more about Grace, listen to her Storytellers radio show episodes at www.GraceSammon.Net.
To learn more about LAUNCH PAD, listen to episodes at www.LaunchPadRadio.com
Watch the trailer to The Eves here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaKMSIC4myM&t=3s.
DON’T FORGET TO –
Sign up for my quarterly newsletter, Jody’s Journal, to get a chance to win a copy of my novel (eBook or PDF version)! Winners will be drawn around the 23rd of this month. Sign up here at https://bit.ly/3jRjDJQ or on my website at www.jodyherpin.com
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES!
One year ago on March 12, I launched my novel. I am so proud of this book and hope whoever reads it will enjoy the experience. It’s available on the following:
BookShop – https://bit.ly/3IMV1Nk
Amazon – https://amzn.to/3GN4l1M
Barnes & Noble – https://bit.ly/35BMdLW
Walmart – https://bit.ly/3aMwLzm
Kobo – https://bit.ly/3IStGKl
BooksAMillion – https://bit.ly/3OifwDp
Thank you to Grace Sammon for her fantastic contribution.
Next month, we’ll hear from Author Gaby Reich-Anderson.
Thanks for stopping by,