Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Anti-Thanksgiving

by Hilary Davidson

I’m excited to be joining Criminal Minds. Normally, my standard line is that I wouldn’t join any club that would have me for a member (thank you, Groucho Marx), but Criminal Minds is more like a pirate ship. If I were planning a heist, these are the people I’d want staking out the target, donning the bunny masks, and driving the getaway car. I’ll be sharing Sundays with Sue Ann Jaffarian, which means, as the old song says, Sunday will never be the same.

When my first novel, THE DAMAGE DONE, was published — exactly two months ago today — the terrific Rebecca Cantrell invited me to visit Criminal Minds. The question I had to answer was “What fictional character would you leave your partner for?” Aside from having to shield my husband’s eyes from the answer, the question wasn’t anywhere near as tough as this week’s. That’s because my main character, Lily Moore, hasn’t had anything approaching a family Thanksgiving dinner since she was 13 years old, when her father died. Her mother, already unstable and a drinker, uprooted Lily and her sister, Claudia, and moved them from town to town while they were teenagers. There was no extended family, and while Lily tried to take care of her sister when they were growing up, they ended up on very different paths. Lily was the good girl who did well in school and escaped reality by watching old films, especially ones featuring her idol, Ava Gardner. Claudia played truant, falling in with a rough crowd and developing a heroin habit.

In THE DAMAGE DONE, Lily is called home to New York when she’s told her sister has died, only to discover at the morgue that the corpse belongs to a woman who’d stolen Claudia’s identity, and that her sister is missing. The fact that the two have been estranged for some time makes it tough for Lily to know where to begin searching for Claudia. The tradition of getting together with family on Thanksgiving is one that they’ve ignored in their adult lives, and it’s something Lily comes to regret as she searches for her sister.

To say that Lily hates family holidays would be an understatement. Part of the reason she became a travel writer was so she would never have to sit at home alone through another lonely holiday while other people are with their loved ones. On Thanksgiving, she’s somewhere else in the world—it could be Buenos Aires, or Tokyo, or Istanbul—but the main thing is that it’s a place where people aren’t celebrating the holiday.

I have to confess, it’s a stark contrast with my own family Thanksgiving. I’m originally from Canada, where Thanksgiving falls in October, and it’s not quite the sacred tradition it is in the U.S. By that, I mean that while my mother cooks a turkey dinner that day, I think jealous thoughts in New York about the feast that my dad and my brothers are enjoying… though it’s never occurred to me to visit for that occasion. For my husband’s family, Thanksgiving is a sacred holiday marked by an annual pilgrimage to Philadelphia. It’s notable for greatness on three fronts: company (it’s rare for fewer than 25 people to show up), food and wine. And if I could invite Lily along for it, I would.

www.hilarydavidson.com

14 comments:

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Welcome to my Sunday other half!

Next year, you'll have to invite Lily to Thanksgiving in Philly. In fact, it might be fun to include that in one of the books and watch her reaction. :)

Richard Godwin said...

Hilary, it takes a brave man to trust you with the cooking.Will you publish your recipe for stuffing?

Hilary Davidson said...

Thanks, Sue Ann & Richard. Very glad to be here!

Richard, I have to confess that I don't have a recipe for stuffing. Because I have celiac disease, any food with wheat is off-limits to me. My contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner in Philadelphia is normally wine!

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

So wonderful to see you here at Criminal Minds, Hilary!
I'm enjoying The Damage Done, which is outstanding. I hope you had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving. Can't believe two months have passed since the release of TDD...and now the holidays are upon us. Best wishes and congratulations ~ I look forward to your blog posts here at Criminal Minds.

Meredith Cole said...

Welcome, Hilary! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving (now and way back when in October).

We have a tendency in my family to adopt all available orphans for the holidays (it was 42 for dinner this year), so we'd be happy to have Lily at our house, just in case your in-laws object...

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Welcome aboard! We are thankful to have you. :)

Lily is welcome at our house too!

I don't get stuffing either, but this year we had purple yams cooked with coconut milk. Yummy!

Rochelle Staab said...

Great to see you here, Hilary! Congratulations on your TDD release and I look forward to your posts on Criminal Minds.

Hilary Davidson said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, Kathy, Meredith, Becky and Rochelle! You are all very kind. Hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too. Now I'm thinking about abandoning chilly NYC to visit Becky in Hawaii. Purple yams cooked in coconut milk? That sounds great!

Shane Gericke said...

You will make a fine pirate on the CM ship, Hilary. Take it from me.

Steve Weddle said...

Ah, holidays.

This is cool. More Hilary Davidson to read. Hot damn.

Michael Wiley said...

Welcome onto the pirate ship, Hilary. I'm not sure about the bunny masks, but we definitely have an extra hook or two.

Lois Winston said...

Coming in a little late to welcome you aboard the pirate ship, Hilary!

Hilary Davidson said...

I was already convinced that CM was the best pirate ship around, but the comments from Shane, Michael and Lois drove that home. Thanks for the warm welcome, the grog, and for making me feel that it's time to change the language setting on my Facebook account to "Pirate" (again!).

Also, my thanks to Mr. Weddle for stopping by and saying nice things. He does that in spite of the fact that I want to steal his dog.

Kelli Stanley said...

Wonderful post, Hilary--we're thrilled to have you aboard, and are counting on lots of rum, eye patches and keelhauling to come! ;)

xoxo