For an author, part of the fun of a series is choosing which characters to feature in upcoming books. With the Goddesses Anonymous series (debuting in 2012 with One Mountain Away) a handful of women are introduced in book one, each to theoretically have her own story as time passes.
Almost immediately after One Mountain Away was released readers began to question who would be the major character in the next book, Somewhere Between Luck and Trust. They were anxious to hear more about Harmony, or they wondered if I was going to further redeem Taylor, who had plenty of problems to overcome in the first book.
I, on the other hand, was fascinated by Georgia Ferguson. Georgia is a no-nonsense educator, who suffered at the hands of Charlotte Hale, the main protagonist in One Mountain Away. While Charlotte does what she can to make up to Georgia for her part in having Georgia fired years before, Georgia’s life is not an easy one. Not now, nor did I think it had been ever.
I’m a sucker for women with difficult pasts and difficult circumstances. I was on my way.
Do you wonder how much I know before I begin a book? Truthfully I know a lot. I’m not what my friends call a “pantser” (plotting by the seat of my pants.) I like to do work up front so when I finally dive in, I can surface again fairly quickly.
Here’s the beginning of the bio I wrote for Georgia. Remember, I wrote this just for me, to help me think this through.
I was abandoned at birth. My mother gave birth to me, then she left me in the sink of a hospital rest room wrapped in a dark blue sweatshirt before she left the building. These are my most positive thoughts about the woman who gave birth to me, and they were hard won. She cared enough not to leave me on the more precarious counter, and she was willing to brave the cold that night without the oversized sweatshirt that had hidden her pregnancy, because she wanted me to survive.
I very nearly didn’t. I weighed less than three pounds and was probably two months premature. Luckily for me when the missing rest room key was noted, a nurse with a copy went to investigate and found me crying feebly. Nobody could describe the woman who had asked for the key. Young, they thought, perhaps a teenager. No one had thought to ask her why she was there, or take a closer look. They had been in the midst of a shift change. The key had been handed over without a thought.
The police searched. The newspapers had a field day with the story, because the town was small and news was scarce. My progress, or lack of it at first, was a daily human interest story. Offers came in from surrounding states to adopt me, but not only was I premature, a valve in my heart was faulty, and I couldn’t leave the hospital until it was repaired.
By the time I left, new valve in place and accustomed to shift changes and the sounds of hospital machinery, I was much less desirable and no longer newsworthy. The couple who was sure they could cope with the obvious trauma of my first two years was wrong. When I was five they returned me to the custody of the state, and I was in and out of treatment programs and foster care until at eleven, an elderly woman who had made a career of raising society’s cast-off children, took me in, told me the only thing that would end that placement was her death, and invited me to make a list of all the things I planned to do to prove her wrong so she could explain why none of them were going to work.
You can see that I wanted to know what had made Georgia the woman she was. And now, can you imagine what it must have been like to grow up with that kind of a beginning? That’s where the next big chunk of work comes in.
On Tuesday I’ll share some of Cristy Haviland’s story. I hope you’ll enjoy this bonus peek into the lives of my characters.