A Moral Compass, Falling in Love and No Desire for a Different Ending

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I have made an art form of the interview – Orson Welles

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love being invited to answer interview questions related to my writing. Recently, three unique questions came my way via a fellow writer.

What would you say to Izzy if you came across her in a coffee shop? Maybe that fancy cafe near the boardwalk featured in Chasing Down the Night with that great view of the harbour and all the boats.

Hands down, I would try to get her talking about her first husband, Caleb. He was the man who created the paradise at Crater Lake that Izzy inhabits. He is dead before the opening lines of Disappearing in Plain Sight and yet he has often been named as people’s favourite character. One reader went as far as to say that Caleb is the moral compass of the novel. Glimpses into Caleb’s personality and charisma saturate the entire Crater Lake Series. As the books add up and I move further from his death and into the lives of the people left behind, I will have to be more creative in my task of keeping him in the present narrative. Come on, Izzy. Help me out here.

Harbour shot - Guenette photo

Did you fall in love with any of your characters when you were writing the book?

Hmmm … since a little bit of me is in every single character, I was narcissistically in love with all of them. Differing personality traits appealed to me. I admired Lisa-Marie’s feistiness. Who wouldn’t fall for Justin’s good looks and code of honour? I fell madly in love with Beulah’s sharp wit and wry comments. My heart went out to Bethany for the cards life had dealt her. Liam’s strength and fragility wrenched my emotions every time I encountered him. And Izzy’s struggles with grief and professionalism buffeted me with the echoes of many stories I had heard over the years. As you can probably tell, these characters mattered to me. If, as an author, I am not emotionally committed to my characters, how can I expect the readers to care?

Grain - Bruce Witzel photo

Do you ever wish you’d ended the book differently?

Absolutely not – the ending of Disappearing in Plain Sight gives me great satisfaction. The novel never started out to be the first book in a series. It was simply a story I had to tell. When I try to field questions about where the characters or ideas came from, I’m at a loss to provide answers. What I do now is this – more than any other part of the book, the ending had the characters clamouring in my head to have the next chapters of their lives told. After three novels, those original characters are still at it with new additions making appearances and begging for attention.

The pensive writer - Bruce Witzel photo

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