One of the first lessons a newbie writer learns is to 'write what you know.' This is good advice and one that experienced authors have been following forever. Take Jane Austen for instance. She wrote about the social and financial restrictions placed upon women in uptight 19th century England, a persecution she understood only too well. What about Stephen King? He lives in Maine and many of his novels take place in New England. And then there's John Grisham who practiced law in Mississippi before becoming a writer. He now pumps out bestsellers almost exclusively about southern lawyers. I write about Chicago because that's where I was born, grew up, and am growing old in the company of my family and friends.
In researching Merely Dee, I was able to walk the streets of Cicero and along the banks of the Chicago River imagining what life was like nearly one hundred years ago. And though we are a century apart, I can still identify with my protagonist, Dee Pageau, in many ways. I have a momma, who in her younger days, worked very hard balancing a home, four kids, a part-time job, and the needs of her own aging parents. I, too, started working at sixteen, but only evenings and weekends. School was always the priority in the Manseau household. I grew up in Elmwood Park, a neighborhood very much like Cicero. But instead of wooden two-flats, the entire block consisted of brick bungalows built so close together we could peer into our neighbors' houses. As a kid, I knew every family on our long, Chicago-like block, and everyone knew us. I had a BFF who lived close by, and I had a crush on her older brother. Like Dee, I daydreamed of romance in a seemingly impossible situation. But unlike Dee, nothing ever happened between me and this older guy. However, in Merely Dee, Delia Pageau does get her chance for love, not once, but twice, and someday, even in our imaginations, she will have to make a decision.
So dear readers, I'm asking you to choose for her. If you were Dee, who would you pick? Mae Koznecki's gorgeous older brother, Karel, the dimpled heart throb of Cicero back in the day? Or the rough and ready sailor, Lars Nielsen, with those muscled arms and that warm and inviting smile? Take the poll and cast your vote. I myself, can't seem to make a decision. Maybe someday I'll have to, but for now, I'll go on loving them both.
ON THE BOOK FRONT
Merely Dee is moving along at a wonderful pace, thanks to all of you! But I want to tell you about another project involving the Eastland boat disaster of 1915. Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago has announced the premiere of Eastland: An Original Musical. The production, written by ensemble member, Andrew White, will open on June 6, 2012, and the tickets are the hottest item in town. The story revolves around the victims and the heroes that emerged that fateful day. The music is inspired by early American folk tunes. So, if you live in the Chicagoland area, be sure to order your tickets. If you're planning a trip to our fair city this summer, make sure you're in town during the run of this musical. I'm getting my ticket, I hope you do too!!