Monday, September 20, 2021

A Darling Teenager Stole My Heart

 Q: Show us your darlings. Give us five or ten lines of your own work that you think shine.

-from Susan


Ask something hard, why don’t you? Set us up to shoot us down. Expose our fragile egos, thank you. In addition to that kind of uncomfortable question, there’s something else lurking for me. Which series? Which book? Which character? “Tell me, Ms. Shea, which of your children is your favorite?”


Okay, then. Maybe this shines for me because this character in LOVE & DEATH IN BURGUNDY won my heart as she bloomed on the page. A sweet, wayward teenager coming of age, protected by her innocence and, ultimately, by the people around her. This is most of the last paragraph in the novel. Not a word changed in this scene from the original manuscript I submitted to Minotaur. If you read the whole book, this scene might make you smile, or sigh with pleasure. It would certainly give you a fuller portrait of what the NYT called “an interesting character, a 14-year old thief with personality.”




From her perch in the pear tree, Jeannette saw Michael smile at Katherine, a wide smile that made him even handsomer than usual. She could hear accordion music wafting from Emile’s house next door in the cool night air of early autumn, and saw the cheese-making couple walking hand in hand toward the cafĂ©. She picked a late pear, realizing as she bit into it that it was too far gone. She put it in her pocket rather than toss it. She wouldn’t want her friend Katherine to think she had been spying. As she shimmied down, she narrowly avoided stepping on the yellow cat, waiting under the tree for the humans to open the kitchen door and let it in for the night, to safety, a last meal for the day, and a soft place to sleep. 





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