I guess everyone has heard the expression that truth is stranger than fiction, and I’ve covered this topic in a previous newsletter but bear with me as I take us into that world again. Like many of you, I’ve encountered situations that stretch the imagination. And yet when writers try to build a plot around these weird and wonderful situations, we often find ourselves in a dilemma because the situation, incident or people in the plot don’t appear authentic.
My reason for discussing this topic again is that in Redemption, book 3 of my West Series, a secondary character who comes across as far-fetched yet is based on someone I met while working in the racing industry as a young girl. I embellished this character’s traits to ramp up the stakes making him bigger than Ben Hur. If I’d set the book in the dark ages when men had ownership over women, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but the story is set in current times, which caused a rethink. Many people would say it’s fiction, so what does it matter? I’ve been one of them, but as writers, we want our stories to be authentic. We want readers to relate to the characters and story, not turn away because they don’t trust the writer knows what they’re doing.
I buried my head in the sand over this character and sent the story to my editor, who came back with concerns. Thank God for editors, and mine, is brilliant. She returned with many suggestions for fixing this person, changing the storyline, which meant additional work hours. If only I’d listened to my gut because I’d had a niggle about this character but chose to ignore it.
The setting for Redemption is Newmarket in the UK. I couldn’t resist bringing the West family to the UK. Britain has many top-notch races worth winning, and the Triple Crown is right up there. During a racing season, a colt or filly must win three races to win the Crown, the Two Thousand Guineas, The Derby, and Saint Leger. Our hero, Faith Clifford, is a jockey at her grandmother’s stable. Grandmother, Vivienne Harrington, trains out of Newmarket. We’re reacquainted with Oliver West, who takes care of the racing side of West Enterprises in the US. He takes two three-year-olds to Vivienne’s stable to train and contest the Crown, and we meet Jack Chenley, who will inherit a Lord’s title when his father dies. The Chenley’s have never won the Crown, and Jack’s greatest ambition is to put that right. Jack has an old-fashioned view of life. It’s those beliefs that caused my issues. But I’ll leave it there because you need to read the book to learn more.
The funny thing about this notable change to Jack is that the changes made him extremely real. You never know when you make an extensive change if you’re fixing it or making things worse. In this case, I was relieved when my editor returned the final edit saying she loved the changes. Editors are a wonder, and I wouldn’t be without mine.
Redemption is planned for release in July 2023.
Because of time restraints this will be my last monthly newsletter, before moving to a quarterly newsletter, with the next one due in September.
So, until next time, stay safe.
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