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Marisa-ONeill
Posts: 321
Registered: ‎03-03-2010
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Re: May Feature #3: THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA by Jean Brashear

 

JeanBrashear wrote:

 

...My characters do tend to have minds of their own in all my books, but this one...well, I guess you can see that's the case.   My husband would tell you that I do seem to have a wee bit of trouble remembering these people are imaginary. :smileywink:  Well, that's because they're not, right?

 

I know Eloisa called her ditzy, and I can see how she would feel that because clearly Pea's mission is anything but logical...but to me, Pea is more an innocent, even though she's theoretically too old for that.  I love how she's had this really hard life but she never feels sorry for herself and just keeps trucking on, relentlessly looking at the bright side, even though life has handed her precious little to generate optimism.  There's a sort of indomitable cheer about her and a...valor, I think I want to say, that whatever comes at her, she forges ahead and, as Val says, takes that big heart of hers and keeps laying it on the line, regardless that it's just as likely to get broken.

 

 

Jean, thanks so much - I really love to hear how author's view their characters. I'm always so fascinated at the 'behind the scenes' look of the writing process.

 

Pea fascinates the heck out of me because I feel as if she acts on things the rest of us wish we could but we don't because there's always that voice in the back of our heads telling us how we should act and behave. You know that voice that constantly tells us what's 'right and proper', what's socially acceptable? I think I have, or perhaps we all have, a little Pea in us but it gets locked away once we start kindergarten and our teachers and parents tell us to sort of deny our feelings. You know - eat your spinach, you like it - don't argue with your brother - sit still and cross your legs. When in reality we hate spinach, our brother is driving us mad and we just want him to shut up, and sitting still is almost impossible because we have the energy of the universe bottled up inside of us.  So we learn to moderate and modulate our behavior and after a while the natural instincts that are part and parcel of how we're hard wired recede into the background and socially acceptable behavior becomes the norm. Being a responsible adult is a good thing - but every once in a while we should let our (corny as it sounds) inner child out to play and raise hell, to take things on faith, to ask questions and view the world from a slightly different angle - when we do we usually find new things, experiences, people and places that surprise the heck out of us and just may enrich our lives. And I think Pea does that and that's why, as a character,  I love her. For me her innocence, as you call it, or her ditziness, as Eloise calls it, can also be categorized as an indomitable spirit. 

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JeanBrashear
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎03-02-2009
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Re: May Feature #3: THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA by Jean Brashear

Marisa, I couldn't agree more--one thing I'm discovering at this part of my life is an element of fearlessness I was too busy being a good girl to have in the past.  And you know what?  A whole lot of times, there's no penalty!  You are so right--of course socialization of children is necessary, but sometimes it goes so far that we completely lose contact with (okay, count me corny, too) that inner child, that freer spirit that can make life so much richer.

 

I mean, quite often the question I've learned to ask myself is "What's the worst thing that can happen?"  My husband deserves credit for that--his wartime experiences taught him to view fear through the eyes of "How bad can it be, this thing I'm afraid of?  Nobody's shooting at me!"  And when I started applying that "worst thing" yardstick, what happens is that simply putting a name and a face on whatever the fear is that's restraining me from taking a leap on something starts to make it manageable.  So then you leap (which is the story of my life as a writer--the whole thing has been improbable from the start) and discover that hey, not only did that awful thing not happen, but sometimes something really amazing and cool does.

 

That's how THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA came to be, by finding my true voice, my true desire and taking the leap.  Yes, there was also a lot of sticking with it required, but there was such a freedom I felt when I was writing Pea--not all the time, no, too often doubts crept in--but when I let loose and let her run...somehow her indomitable spirit, as you term it (I like it!) freed mine.

 

 

THE CHOICE - Jean's multi-award-winning first book (aka The Bodyguard's Bride)newly revised and with a new ending!
THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA
Bell Bridge Books
www.jeanbrashear.com
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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: May Feature #3: THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA by Jean Brashear

Jean - Thinking about the markers, which I loved, reminded me of that movie where John Travolta starred as the angel Michael. He wants to see all the funky "weird" sights, and I got a kick out of when I saw it all those years ago. I was fascinated to find out the markers in your book were real!

Author
JeanBrashear
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎03-02-2009
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Re: May Feature #3: THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA by Jean Brashear

Becke, I liked that movie, too--and a lot of it was filmed right around where I live!

 

I've discovered most people think I made up the markers--sure would have been more convenient 'cause I could make them do whatever I wanted to!  I started out trying to use them to follow her actual journey, but some of them weren't that interesting, so then I decided to leave off the locations and just go with the ones that tickled my fancy most.  But I had an affinity with several depicting strong women, so when the warrior goddess theme started emerging and swordplay made its appearance, I decided to switch as completely as I could to strong women.

 

The main exception was retaining Robert E. Howard's marker, the Crash at Crush one (just because it hit my funnybone) and also the Harkeyville gambling one that came in when con man Val was arriving on scene...I tried to keep at least a tangential relationship between what was going on in the story, the chapter titles and the topic of the marker--but again, making them up would have been waaaay easier!

 

I spoke to a book club last night, and one of the members is a friend of the woman who worked for the state of Texas and wrote many of those markers--how cool is that?!?  I guess I always assumed that the various communities or historical societies or whatever wrote them, but now I want to meet this woman!

THE CHOICE - Jean's multi-award-winning first book (aka The Bodyguard's Bride)newly revised and with a new ending!
THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA
Bell Bridge Books
www.jeanbrashear.com
Author
JeanBrashear
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎03-02-2009
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Re: May Feature #3: THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA by Jean Brashear

Since my week is at an end, I just want to thank Eloisa James, Melanie Murray, Becke Martin and everyone who dropped in to either visit or lurk during my time here.  It's been a tremendous honor to be chosen for Eloisa's column and to be invited here, and I'll hope to cross paths with all of you in the near future!

 

Thanks a million for the wonderful reviews and complimentary remarks--THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA is very dear to my heart, and I so very much appreciate every last kindness!

 

All my best,

Jean

 

THE CHOICE - Jean's multi-award-winning first book (aka The Bodyguard's Bride)newly revised and with a new ending!
THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA
Bell Bridge Books
www.jeanbrashear.com
Moderator
Melanie_Murray
Posts: 3,511
Registered: ‎11-16-2007
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Re: May Feature #3: THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA by Jean Brashear

Jean, thank you so much for chatting with us! I hope you drop in periodically. You're a hoot to talk to!

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: May Feature #3: THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA by Jean Brashear

Jean - sorry I missed the end of your visit! I've been out of town, at RT and trying to catch up on garden writing deadlines. Now I'm finally almost caught up - hurray!