SOCIAL CLASSHey, my good friends, Evelyn Cole here wanting to shake you up, kick you off all those formula books you may have been reading. Back when I thought I should go for a genre, I tried writing a Romance novel and studied the formula.  When I started writing it, I laughed so hard I couldn’t continue.  I know there’s some great literature in popular genres, but I can’t write them.

I had a close friend who, when she was working on her PhD in history, became side-tracked writing historical romance novels which she sold very well. She showed me the sex scene she wrote for her first novel and told me she used it in each subsequent story by just changing the characters’ names. She said she was relieved to avoid having to write another sex scene. I was shocked for I believed that sexual encounters vary considerably and told her so. She laughed and said, “I just prefer to dramatize history.” Therefore, while visiting Paris, France, I wrote a sex scene for her that she could use in the story she was writing that took place there. She made more money than I did; I had more fun.

When I was born in New England, the fifth child in a somewhat wealthy family, I had to compete with three older brothers in sports and jests. My mother despaired of raising what she called her “left-handed monkey wrench” to be an ‘attractive’ woman.  My brothers always loved me, even the youngest who teased and fought me for years.  Their influence on me was profound. I still tend to trust men more than women although I support women’s rights. Each of you can define yourself by your background. It’s fascinating to be in a readers’ group where the members follow up their discussion of the book with comments how their backgrounds relate to the comments they made about the book.

I invent adorable male characters for each of my novels, even if they are minor in the story. One example is Bernie in A Tough Journey. Bernie’s journey takes him deep into himself to finally take responsibility for what’s there, both strong and weak. It weaves through his search for the killer of pet dogs in a California beach city neighborhood, with struggles against his powerful father to maintain city support for battered women, with support of surfers, and with his misguided efforts to connect with the right woman for him. All threads form a tight tapestry.

Dan is my hero in Hurricane Love. Coming from a Christian family with enough income to educate him and give him confidence as a young man, he manages to save the lives of his teenaged friends during a hurricane. Eventually, he marries one of them and then becomes a judge known to be fair and Christian. When his wife comes down with early onset Alzheimer’s she begs him to help her commit suicide. You can imagine the struggle he put himself through with that.

Hal is the principal of a high school where a student he knew well from an earlier Australian field trip committed suicide by hanging himself from a basketball hoop in the high school gym. In his mourning Hal determined to find out why for The Sake of all Others in his school. His search is so thorough he must resign as principal. In the process he answers the why of himself.

My novels with women as protagonists end up with adorable male characters much like my brothers. Sometime, dear friends, finish a book discussion with scenes from your childhood that relate to the book you are discussing. It’s fun.

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