I can't believe we're into the third week of 2017 already, and I have nothing to talk about.
Well, I do, but I doubt if you want to hear much about my latest house project—removing painted-over wallpaper from the dining room. Let’s face it, that’s about as interesting as watching paint dry.
However, “have you ever painted over wallpaper?” is my new litmus tests for friends, lovers and politicians.
And there is a wrong answer to that question.
On the writing front, as I worked on revisions, I discovered why Dead Aunt Charlotte is haunting the family. Not because they never found her body, which is what the family thinks, but because the family never found Charlotte’s child.
When Charlotte died in the 1920s, unexpected pregnancies were hidden, bastard children were put up for adoption once they were born, and no one ever talked about it. More frequently, there were a lot of babies born six or seven months after the marriage.
Of course none of my readers would blink an eye at a single, wealthy woman having a child, so explaining why this is a big deal without preaching will be tricky—particularly because it’s a minor thread in the overall story but she’s critical to the resolution.
Even trickier will be doing this without an info-dump.
But I’m excited about this development and the ensuing challenge. I'm fascinated by the 1920s. I like the clothes, the shoes (really like the shoes) and the hats.
As a result, I have done way more research than my minor ghostly characters deserves. I’ve discovered that like now social acceptability of sexual mores varies by social-economic status.
In the medieval times, the wealthier or more noble you were, the greater the risk of stepping outside of expected behavior. By the early 1920s century, it was just the opposite. Wealth served to insulate you from public censure, and Dead Aunt Charlotte could afford to keep her child hidden.
And now for something fun... post the opening line of your work-in-progress. I'll start:
“Mom is naked. Again.”
Eden Rivers tripped up the old step, dropping her walking pole in the stumble. Balancing on one foot, she caught her breath and turned to her sister. “What?”
“She’s weeding the begonias au naturel.”