Thoughts about my girls - "Do What's Best"
Updated: Jan 21
I began thinking about what other kinds of books I wanted to write even while working on both the Blackridge Saga and the Double Club series. Laconia was written in between the two series and so was Space Pirates of the Black Nebula. Visitors to my website here can see that I have an Other Works section and that's where all of the books that are not part of Blackridge or the Double Club are going to go, of course ... with the exception of Space Pirates, because that's part of the Future Earth series.
"Other Works" needed some more titles and while I was working on The Double Club, I started putting together a group of lesbian characters that could potentially become a series of their own. "Do What's Best" didn't work out that way. I don't have any plans to make it into a series, but it was a memorable book to work on because it really took on a life of its own. I sat down, created the characters, and started to put the story together like I normally do, but I did something different with this one.
I didn't create any type of outline or formulate any sort of beginning/middle/ending kind of thing - which is the normal part of a novel creation process. You have to know where the story is going at all times or you start to get lost, frustrated, blocked, etc.
This book, however, started to do that ... but not in a negative way. I started it, it was going very well, and then the story lapsed in my mind. That sometimes happens, but not very often because I always have a plan when I work or do anything, really. I'm that type of person. I plan things out. I wasn't even very impulsive when I was younger, so I guess it just carried into my mature years.
The girls in "Do What's Best" came to life in my mind and heart, however. I had never written a book like this before, but I remembered a friend of mine from a long time ago. I met her in a club one night. She was new in town, a lesbian in a gay bar, sitting all by herself at a table with no one talking to her. She looked very lonely and I didn't like that. I had gone out with a friend that night, but he was far too interested in all the other available men at the club to hang around with me once I got there, so I went over to the girl and said hello. She smiled at me and allowed me to sit with her at the table. We ordered drinks and just started talking.
Her name was Denise and she was from Philadelphia. The more I got to know her, I saw that she was a very tough, loyal type of person. She was street-smart, funny, and yet very shy. I liked her a lot after I got to talking to her and we became club friends. I was working evening hours at the time so I was sleeping in the daytime, working second shift, and then going out after I got home. I really didn't have much time for a social life outside of the club scene. She and I stayed friends while she was in the city, but eventually, she had to move back to Philadelphia and we lost touch. Those were the days long before everyone had a mobile phone.
I wanted to write a story like this, at first, because I wanted some diversity in my Other Works selection. Kevin had suggested it, too. He's like "what about lesbian fiction? You haven't done that." So, now I have. And you know what? The one thing that stood out to me was how easy this book was to write because of the way it flowed. I am careful in my portrayals of certain types of characters, because I feel it's important for them to be genuine and real.
If you are sculpting a statue or painting a portrait, you want it to look real. (Unless of course it's abstract art haha) My work is the same way. One of the things that many people who read my work have told me is how vivid and realistic my characters are. I always enjoy hearing that because I try to make believable people come to life in my work.
"Do What's Best" isn't just about lesbian characters. It's about people. Interchange the names and genders of the people and it works just as well as anything else. We are all this way or that way. We all have the same thoughts and hopes and dreams. It's really not a big deal that I wrote lesbian fiction, it's a big deal (to me) because of the way this book made me feel.
I enjoyed it. I also didn't intend for the things to happen in it that did, but that was something that I've touched on before. Characters are going to do whatever they want to do and you have to let it happen. I didn't expect it, but like I said, I let this book write itself. I don't foresee myself doing that again, because it was kind of a writing experiment I tried and maybe that's why this work leaves me with such a special feeling.
My girls in "Do What's Best" are very important to me and the way this story came together was great. Now that Blackridge and The Double Club are finished, I'm planning more solo works. It's a challenge for me because I tend to write series very well. Blackridge was only supposed to be a trilogy. The Double Club was only supposed to be two books.
Like I said ... characters come alive and you just gotta let them do whatever they're gonna do.
I just have to make sure I always do what's best.