The Marshall Memo 4/4/11

She’s Got Personality

Last week I wrote about the workshop I’d attended on the writer’s voice given by Jane Porter, Liza Palmer, and Megan Crane.  This week I’m applying the topic of voice to my recent reading experience.  My deduction: if the writer’s voice is the author’s personality, and that personality is larger than life, sometimes it might overpower the character.  Why do I bring this up?  Because I’ve just had a most unusual experience reading a fantastic book by one of my favorite authors EVER!

Call Me Irresistible

First off, if you’ve never read a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book, you need to find one and read it, now.  Her current release, Call Me Irresistible, won’t let you down.  I loved Wynette, Texas with all the busy-bodies and rich folk.  I loved the more-perfect-than-normal hero – Ted Beaudine.  I loved the pokes at his perfection by Meg Koranda the heroine who noticed the oddest things about how the universe lined up whenever Ted entered a room or stepped onto a golf course.  I loved the humor in the book.  I was fascinated by how Ms. Phillips brought together characters in this story from no less than three other books. I loved how the reader resided inside Meg’s head (POV) for 90% of the story, how SEP seamlessly used omniscient voice (a gather-round-the-campfire-you’re-going-to hear-a-great-story approach) in the opening and later in bits and pieces. And I loved how she kept us guessing what Ted thought, and only slipped into his point of view when she absolutely had to at the end.  Also, I really want to see some of the jewelry created by Meg.  

That’s how involved I got in this book.

Personality Plus

There was only one teensy tiny problem for me.  Over the last several years, I have had the good fortune of hearing Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) speak at Romance Writers of America National conferences.  I’ve visited her website and listened to her read letters to her fans.  And most recently, I had the pleasure of seeing SEP on her Call Me Irresistible book launch tour at the Rancho Mirage Public Library last February.  She is one of a kind, and her personality effortlessly spills onto each and every page she writes.  So much so that I kept having the strangest thing happen as I read the book. 

Photo shopping

Meg Koranda was a feisty, spunky kind of gal, the kind of character I like best.  After being pampered and spoiled by famous parents her entire life, she gets cut off from the gravy train.  Also, she finally gets dealt a lousy hand when her best friend beckons her to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. Due to Meg’s penchant for being honest, and because she loves her friend Lucy, the wedding goes astray.  Far, far astray, as in the bride takes a hike rather than walks down the aisle.  Of course Meg gets blamed for it, and she quickly heads the list of least liked person in Wynette. She has caused shame and pain for their favorite god/Mayor, Ted, as he was the intended groom.  As in all of SEP’s books, she manages to make the most unlikely people wind up together in a completely believable way.  That’s SEPs gift…besides oozing with great writer’s voice.

Meg has a strong personality – just like someone else I know who happens to write fantastic books.  More than once a strange phenomenon occurred while I read –  SEP’s face got photo shopped onto Meg’s body.  The first time it happened, I chuckled.  What was SEP’s head doing on Meg’s shoulders, wearing that jewel-toned silk that she’d twisted and tied at one shoulder.  Then it happened again at the Roustabout group meet, and in every scene where she squared off with Ted.  I saw SEP!  Meg sounded just like the SEP I know from all of those conference workshops with her buddy Jane Anne Krentz.  She had the same impish glint in her eyes. I know there was an age difference between SEP and Meg, but I couldn’t help it, her personality fit.  SEP was Meg.  Once I got used to seeing her mischievous mug on Meg’s head, I couldn’t let it go, and I enjoyed every page, every scene, every chapter of this wonderful, fantastic, clever and funny book.  SEP/Meg with her character arc from call me irresponsible to Call Me Irresistible was awesome.

Has that ever happened to you?  Has the author ever overpowered a character in a book that you’ve read?  Let’s chat, shall we?



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