I don’t have children but there are times when I feel like a harassed foster mother who keeps on taking in more waifs. My problem is that I’m an author. My characters move in. They take up residence in my head and house so it gets a bit overcrowded in both.
I write under two names in two genres and two of my characters are physically based on one person. They look similar but in my books are a pagan priest and a gay Military Police Investigator. To say they are not keen on each other is an understatement. The other night, having watched their prototype on TV, they got into a heated argument which nearly came to a slapping. My poor husband is totally oblivious to all this. He wonders why I keep tutting and looking sternly in a direction where he sees nothing. I’ve even been known to hiss “Will you two pack it in?”
I expect most authors go around talking to themselves but I actually argue with my people. I’m not rehearsing dialogue, it is really happening. This is because a lot of my work is dictated by the players with whom I am very familiar, having “lived with them” for so long. Obviously I’m very grateful for this but they pick their moments.
Not long ago I went with my Aunt while on holiday in Scotland to see a talk by some fascinating Navajo Rangers about their work which involves investigating the paranormal. The head of the Black Shaman’s Guild in my novels is also a Native American so you can imagine how many kicks in the shin I was getting from him…cue for a new book in the series. “Remember all this, it is research, Scribe!”
It’s my own fault. My work is based on personal experience, both as a Royal Air Force officer and on my life-long study of religions, so there is a great deal of personal investment. Riga, the Black Shaman female lead character is shamelessly myself at a much younger age so I hear her wise-cracks as strongly as I can feel her love for Iamo, who existed in reality.
My biggest problem is when I owe both publishers a novel, which is the case at the moment and I have both genres whispering (or shouting) in my ear. The two military lads are firm but polite and, being police like my parents, have a tendency to take over. If it weren’t for the odd fireball from Riga, they might win…but it gets messy.
How do I cope? Easy, I’m bipolar and quite used to being in two minds about things. It’s the voices, you see, doctor, they make me do it.
BIO – Ailsa Abraham retired early from a string of jobs, ending up with teaching English to adults. She has lived in France for over twenty years and is married with no children but six grandchildren. Her passion is motorbikes which have taken the place of horses in her life now that ill-health prevents her riding. She copes with Bipolar Condition, a twisted spine and increasing deafness with her usual wry humour – “well if I didn’t have all those, I’d have to work for a living, instead of writing, which is much more fun.”. Her ambition in life is to keep breathing and maybe move back to the UK. She has no intention of stopping writing.
Ailsa Abraham, author of Amazon best- seller, Alchemy and award-nominated Shaman’s Drum
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