I spent a chunk of time this past weekend hashing out family history. Who was born when, who married whom, how many children did they have, when did they die . . . and so on. It’s tricky stuff.
But here’s the fun part. I’ve invented every bit of it. I’ve been sorting out the Phillips family. Bess Phillips Long is the heroine of Miracle in a Dry Season. Her granddaughter Ella is the heroine of The Memory of Drowning and her daughter Sadie is the heroine of A Miraculous Catch. Then there are husbands, wives, children, friends and even lovers. (Hey, Christian fiction doesn’t mean everyone behaves all the time!) And, of course, there are secondary characters who have all of the above as well.
Because all three books feature characters from the same family, I need to spend time making sure everything flows from book to book. That’s complex enough, but there are also world events to work around. Frank fought in the Spanish-American War–was he the right age? Casewell didn’t fight in Korea–why not? (He has a heart defect which would make him 4F and he’s the sole surviving son, which would make him 4G.)
It’s fun, but it’s also complicated and time-consuming–and necessary. Not only does this work keep future readers from being confused, it also makes the characters real to me. Over dinner I nearly shared what I’d learned about Phillips family connections with my husband. Then I remembered. Um, not real people. But to me, a little bit more real than they were even a week ago.
Oh, and a belated happy birthday to the Talbot twins. If they were real (and incredibly healthy!), they would have turned 132 last Thursday.