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Thursday, January 01, 2015

'I Wonder What Rafe Has Been Up To?




I feel sorry for any author who doesn't write a series because no matter how much you may love  your individual books, it's not the same as having a character or group of characters that become so interwoven into your life, they feel almost like members of your emotional family.

Rafe Vincennes is that person for me. I have written eight books about him. My current WIP is about three boys who grow up in an Irish Traveler family. I love these boys and the research I've done on the Irish Travelers is fascinating. I am enjoying the writing of this novel very much but still, every now and then, the question drifts through my head: "I wonder what Rafe has been up to?"

Because Rafe is like a real person to me, more real than some actual humans I interact with regularly. I would write about Rafe even if no one ever bought or read those books simply to satisfy my own curiosity.

I admit that he's not everyone's cup of tea. Twisted men seem to be my forte. Almost all of my main male characters are anti-hero as much as hero and Rafe is even more so. People often ask me how I came up with him. Me - a plump, gray-haired, Grandma-aged, not-especially-adventuresome woman - and amoral racecar driver Rafe (although, of course, he does have a moral code, it's just not like yours and mine). The fact of the matter is that I didn't come up with Rafe, he came up with me.

In that way of his, he sauntered into in my head full-blown and flashed me that mesmerizing grin and said, "here I am" and seduced me. I never know what is going to happen in my books until it actually happens. Rafe has turned me off and turned me on, he's sometimes shocked and dismayed me. He's made me laugh and guided me through describing experiences I've never had. The few times I've tried to change him, soften his image a little, he said no. "I am what I am, take it or leave it."

I am a great Outlander fan and people have asked me how I think Diana Gabaldon has been able to write nine (enormous) novels about Jamie and Claire Fraser, not to mention the supplementary novellas. I would never claim to begin to compare to Gabaldon but I do think I know the answer to that question: she loves Jamie and Claire and she wants to know what happens to them next.

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