Thursday, September 25, 2014

The evolution of Jackie Majesky

This is a blog hop, y'all. I'm taking the hand-off from Shelly King, whose debut novel, The Moment of Everything, came out this month from Grand Central. It's a funny and quite touching story of a Silicon Valley geek who finds her true calling--and family--at a used bookstore. Buy it at your favorite indie shop!

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Now, here's an introduction to the main character of my novel, Bigfoot and the Baby. I should note that neither Bigfoot nor the Baby is actually the main character, but they are both significant characters. And you could argue that the novel has three main characters, since at various times we're inside the head of Jackie, her husband Kyle, or their daughter Katie. But I consider Jackie to be the lead, since she's the one who (I believe) undergoes and also brings about the greatest change.

I've been told she's not the easiest character to like. She certainly would be a difficult friend to have, which is possibly why she doesn't have many, at least at the novel's beginning. She's fearful, judgmental, grandiose, a little desperate. When the novel opens, she has recently latched onto an apocalyptic brand of Christianity as a way of channeling her unfocused fear and sadness, and she's trying to convince her family that the end is nigh. But they have other priorities, which she cannot understand for the life of her.

Is Jackie like me? In all but the religion, well, yes. I gave her some of my worst qualities (amplifying them, I hope, beyond their normal measure). But I also gave her a lot of my hopes--to do something important with my life, to make the world a better place, to love and be loved, fully and sincerely. And I have a lot of sympathy for women who feel they were somehow born in a place that was too small for them--who tried to do what they thought was the right thing, only to find it wasn't the right thing for them.

Jackie's world does get bigger, in a way that's currently impossible in the universe we inhabit. However, what really matters is that Jackie grows a bigger heart and a much wider field of vision by the end of the novel. I didn't necessarily expect that--but she had that in her from the beginning.

So I hope you had fun meeting Jackie.

Next up, another writer about difficult women: Vicki Addesso, one of four authors of Still Here Thinking of You. It's a clear-eyed, heartbreaking, yet hopeful memoir about daughters and mothers.

Look for Vicki's post next Thursday! Here's her Tumblr.

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UPDATE: Another bloghopper has joined us! Lawrence Coates, the author, most recently, of The Garden of the World, writes about his forthcoming novel, The Goodbye House, here.

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