I’ve had several people ask how I could possibly write a humorous story about a woman finding out she has breast cancer. Then they realize I’m a guy and they wonder how I could possibly write about women, let alone breast cancer.
I tell them it starts and ends with the character. That’s rarely a satisfactory answer, but in this case it’s the truth. I created the character of Alice Gwen Morgan, and even started writing about her, before I decided she would end up with cancer. That moment radically changed my story, but it didn’t change the character. It gave her a new obstacle to overcome, but she would have to overcome it in ways that were true to herself – ways that felt natural. Alice being Alice, those ways were often funny.
I didn’t have much of an outline for this story going in. I don’t know if that’s wise or not, but in this case it gave me freedom to explore the character reactions and the circumstances that might occur, given her situation. What could have been dark and depressing ended up being light(er) and funny. I think I was largely successful. I want to entertain and move readers (and I love humor), not make them feel like they’ve been run over by a tank.
It’s weird how things work out sometimes. When I released The Girl from I.T. at the beginning of the summer, I had grand marketing plans. Getting word out is essential, and usually must go beyond blogging about it.
Suddenly I found myself unemployed, so I had rethink how I was managing money, and I had to devote a lot of time to job-hunting. I only managed to engage in a small book giveaway on Goodreads. But those readers weren’t shy about voicing their opinion after reading. Many of the reviews are thoughtful and, more importantly, critical of the work.
When October rolled around, the fact that it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month created a natural link to the book, ushering in more reviews and ratings. Now that the month has ended, I thought I would take stock of the book. I couldn’t be happier that readers I don’t know enjoyed the story and the character so much – that it meant something to them and we made that brief author-reader connection.
If you have been on the fence about the book – self-publishing can be a tall fence – I encourage you to read the reviews on Goodreads (found here). They shine a new light on the work.
Now that we’re getting deeper into fall, I’ve finally been able to make some headway into my next novel, which, strangely enough, is lacking the funny. But the characters and the situations demand a different tack for this one. I’m hoping to post an excerpt in the next week or so, so make sure you look out for it.