On the morning of the most important day of my life, I married Travis. In the evening, My twin brother, Richard, and I gave the best performance of our career. That night, I was attacked, destroyed, recreated by a psychotic sculptor named Elton Fitzgerald. Though there were a hundred people who should have known something was wrong, not one of those hundred rescued me from the monster who impregnated me with the memories of hypnotic green eyes and crooned words. In those surreal hours, I became one of a kind. Unique. Incomparable. A Dresden shepherdess, to be moved from place to place with no will or desire of my own.
Of necessity, a survivor’s world is a small and linear one, while the human world is large and involved. Eventually, a survivor must peek outside of her world and see her place in the larger one, feel the impact she makes on other’s lives. See situations with a broader view. Otherwise, she remains a victim. And I, Celia Ashton, am many things; but a lifetime victim I am not.
But I don’t want to bore you with rehashing of every emotional bridge I crossed; I want you to read the book. So instead, let me just give you the highlights of my visit to Knightworthy’s Castle and English Emporium.
I became reacquainted with Travis, whom I had not seen since the night of our wedding day. I tried to sing, and a body fell off the roof. I paid attention to Richard and realized he was suffering more than I really wanted him to. Therefore, I determined to rescue myself by singing again. I fail so spectacularly, I end up in the hospital. When I return to the Emporium, someone else dies and I get to meet the police. My brother and I become the main focus of the investigation; and I discover the joy and excitement of revisiting my past. But I also get to introduce my psychologist to my brother, spend some time making friends with the rest of the Emporium staff, and start feeling like a person again.
Since I am the main character, I do solve the mystery (the butler did it, sort of); but the important part is that I almost let Fitzgerald win anyway. I let my disappointment in my brother send me running back to my mental hiding place. Happily, I wasn’t as comfortable there as I used to be. And through my brother’s courage, I was able to punch Elton Fitzgerald in the nose. Of course, happily ever after only lasts until the sun rises the next day, but I’ll take all the success I can get. Because I am a survivor.
Not Really a Murder Mystery is my journey from victim to survivor, with stops at emotional dependency, blatant prejudice, scary creeps and super monsters. And of course there’s a few bodies along the way. So come on, get into the car.
Targeted Age Group:
young adult (16 to 26)
How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
If i understand the question (“How is Writing in Your Genre Different from Others?”) correctly. . .
. . .writing for Young adults is different than writing for adults because I can express my truths without the complex sexual and emotional “realities” adults have created for themselves. Though it seems our youth mature faster and faster every generation, there is still a line that divides the young from the old. This line, in my opinion, is willingness to believe. Not a suspension of belief, but an ability to accept the reality of the story, the world where the rules of the story are possible. Whether it is the undead or teen heroes, fantasy kingdoms or space stations, most young adults can feel the possibilities and don’t need a laborious ladder built to get them into a story.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
There are so many cliched phrases and words of advice running through my head. . . I’m sure you’ve heard them all. About time and ideas and the writing process.
But here’s something that is, for me, true today (as I struggle to follow the words of advice about making time to write) and true last year and true next year. Do you write? Then you’re a writer. Publication doesn’t make you a writer; payment doesn’t make you a writer; someone liking your work doesn’t make you a writer. Writing makes you a writer. Pen, paper, napkin, computer, stone and chisel. . . if you record your ideas in the form of words, if you express yourself best through written language, you are a writer. (if you use the spoken word more than the written one, you are a story teller. But you’re a speaker. Not a writer.)
So, my advice is to claim that word. If you are a writer, say it.
– “What do you do?”
“Oh, I’m a writer.”
– “Oh, what have you published?”
“Oh, nothing. I just write because I like it.” “I’ve published XYZ.” “I write blogs on the internet.” “i don’t think you’ll like it.” “It’s none of your business.” Smile mysteriously. “And what do you do?”
-Lila (a writer, as proven by what you’ve just read. *G*)
DD Dunn & LE Allen are pseudonyms for an actor whose stage is the typed page. (Hi, I’m Lila of UnicAllen.) DD Dunn is the mystery writer; LE Allen creates fantasy worlds. I also like to write science fiction (without the PhD or military background) and the occasional romance. I have managed to actually finish and self-publish three novels and I enjoyed being a part of every moment of the books’ creations, from the first sentence to the cover design. I have a small group of finished short stories standing shyly against the wall, waving for attention. Of course I am working on my next novel, when I’m not devoting time to the other arms of my business. And I have so many ideas, I doubt I’ll ever write them all.
My literary goal is to show how people, usually young women, can be themselves and still resolve situations with honor, integrity, humor, and that good old standby, frustrated inspiration. My financial goal, of course, is to be comfortable. Very, very comfortable. Sooooooooo comfortable. (Tee hee.) But my main goal? My main goal is the same as any entertainer – to make people laugh and cry and feel and pause, even just for a moment, to consider someone else’s point of view.
And to be happy.
I hope you enjoy the show.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
As a veracious reader, I was quite taken with Robert Heinlein’s “world as myth” theory. I could easily believe that every story I’d loved actually existed somewhere out there. As my belief system grew, I also realized the corollary. Every story I didn’t love could also be real.
And further, every place I created could be real. Every character I killed could live. And die.
With such a huge responsibility, I decided to put my powers to good use. Every time someone read a book of mine, a female would be rescued from the untenable situation in which she found herself. This allowed me to create that tension that is necessary for a good read and still be able to look at myself in the mirror every morning.
In short, my literary goal is to show how people, usually young women, can be themselves and still resolve situations with honor, integrity, humor, and that good old standby, frustrated inspiration.
Or, in the case of Not Really a Murder Mystery, how one can turn victim into survivor, and even go beyond to becoming connected with the human race again.
The secondary inspiration/basis/theme in Not Really a Murder Mystery is staying in the car. Or not running up the stairs. Or not answering the door. Or perhaps not driving into the dark and scary woods in the first place. You know, all those things that horror movie victims do while the audience is screaming at them. That being a heroine does not require stupidity.
Shrug, it just kind of evolved from there.
And yes, I still believe that every time someone reads the book, a young woman finds the path out of her own dark woods.