As I near completion of my latest novel, I find myself torn between relief and sadness. I'm not alone in saying that, while writing, one becomes attached to the characters he or she creates. When writing Sarah Of The Moon I constantly worried about the well being of Sarah, Alex, and Matt. Even Chick, with his stubborn ways, drew my sympathies from time to time. I wondered if, once I left them, they would find happiness in their lives, or fulfill their hopes and wishes.
Now, as Swan Loch draws to an end, I again feel concern for those left behind. One character will follow me into a few more books, but the others must find their way on their own.
Each novel begins with a journey into strange places with unfamiliar faces.The joy of writing is discovering characters as they are written, growing with them, and then testing their strengths and weaknesses in harsh and sometimes cruel ways. The hope is that they will survive their ordeals and emerge on the other side as better human beings.
We, as writers, have temporary custody of those who roam the pages of our books. They are in our care from the day of their creation until the day we say goodbye. It is our responsibility to look after them even as we place obstacles in their path.
And so ultimately it is sad to leave my friends behind. For the months we were together they were a part of me, a member of my family. It makes sad to say goodbye even as I move on to new friends and new adventures.
I would like to think they will have fond memories of me. I know I'll never forget them.